By Ian McConnell

EDINBURGH-based financial services giant Standard Life Aberdeen yesterday unveiled plans to change its name to Abrdn.

It says the new name will be “pronounced Aberdeen” and “will be part of a modern, agile, digitally enabled brand that will also be used for all the company’s client-facing businesses globally”.

Standard Life Aberdeen worked with brand consultancy Wolff Olins on the new name. The cost of coming up with the new name was not disclosed.

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The financial services group, formed by the merger in 2017 of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, said the “rebranding roll-out process for the new name and associated visual identity will begin in the summer and progress through 2021, alongside implementation of a full stakeholder engagement plan to manage the transition”.

Stephen Bird, who was appointed as chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen last year, said: “Our new brand Abrdn builds on our heritage and is modern, dynamic and, most importantly, engaging for all of our client and customer channels. It is a highly differentiated brand that will create unity across the business, replacing five different brand names that have each been operating independently.”

He added: “Our new name reflects the clarity of focus that the leadership team are bringing to the business as we seek to deliver sustainable growth.”

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Standard Life Aberdeen declared that “the new brand identity marks the next stage in the reshaping of the business and future-focused growth strategy”.

It highlighted its focus on asset management, technology platforms for financial advisers in the UK and their customers, and savings and wealth.

The Standard Life name dates back to 1825.

Standard Life Aberdeen, which has been intensifying its focus on asset management, announced in February that it was selling the brand with which

the group and its

forerunners had been associated for nearly two centuries.

It revealed then that it had agreed to sell the Standard Life brand to the Phoenix group during this year, as part of a complex deal including other elements. Phoenix said in February that this deal would result in Standard Life Aberdeen paying it £115 million cash.

Announcement of the brand sale deal in February came around three years after Phoenix Group acquired the pensions business that operates under the Standard Life brand for £3.2 billion following the Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management merger.

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It is understood part of the reason for the Abrdn, as opposed to Aberdeen, brand is around ownership of digital assets, and that the brand deal with Phoenix meant Standard Life could not feature in the new name.

Mr Bird said in February: “The ‘Standard Life’ brand has an important heritage. In the UK, it has strong recognition as a life insurance and workplace pensions brand.

“This is closely aligned with Phoenix’s strategy and customer base. This is much less the case with the business we are building at Standard Life Aberdeen which is focused on global asset management.”

He also said then that he was “excited about the work we are doing on our own brand, which we look forward to sharing”.