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Aberdeen Asset Management opens New York office

Aberdeen Asset Management is opening an office in New York this month as it steps up a push to expand its US client base alongside a drive into the UK retail market.

The business development office will employ 20 and complement the firm's US headquarters in Philadelphia which employs around 200. Aberdeen has also recently hired development managers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Texas and Chicago and is looking to make further hires across the continent in the coming months.

Shares in the group led by Martin Gilbert hit a 10-year high two months ago when it reported a 14% rise in profits.

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse has sold its remaining 7% stake in Aberdeen, at prices between 245p and 255p. The French bank acquired a 25% stake three years ago at 129p as part-payment for a major disposal which helped transform the Scottish group.

James Thorneley, Aberdeen's marketing manager, said: "About 18% of our business is in the US, which probably still has around 50% of the world's wealth, so the business is arguably underweight in terms of US client base."

He said Aberdeen managed 14 closed-end funds in North America, with gross assets of around $5.5 billion (£3.4bn), had recently acquired two funds and was on the look-out for more, as well as intending to grow its mutual fund and institutional business.

"We believe we are ideally placed because US investors are generally looking to diversify globally – they have large allocations to US equities and fixed income and are now looking at global products – emerging market bonds, global property, funds of hedge funds – in all of which we have a strong capability with strong performance."

However, Aberdeen will not be proactively marketing its global emerging markets equities fund because of the capacity constraints which have prompted it to ask distributors not to promote the fund.

"It is a pretty different situation to many houses, in that we are turning business away," Mr Thorneley said.

"Some £30bn of the group's £185bn under management is already in emerging markets, and its investment process limits the range of stocks it is prepared to hold. Some of our regional products remain open, we are seeing interest in Latin America and Asia Pacific, where we haven't got the same capacity constraints."

Aberdeen is also signalling its intention to regain market share in the UK, where at one time it was in the top five fund groups but now sits at around 12th, and is targeting the top 10.

It has hired Georgina Pardoe from Neptune as a new head of UK wholesale marketing, and hopes to build on the decent performance of its UK Equity Income and multi-asset funds, which are among the £35bn of portfolios managed from the Edinburgh office.

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