By Ian McConnell

The fund management giant formerly known as Standard Life Aberdeen has confirmed today that its name change to abrdn, which it has emphasised is pronounced "Aberdeen", has taken effect from 8am.

Chief executive Stephen Bird said he was "very excited to have reached this milestone".

The name change has divided opinion.

Standard Life Aberdeen said: "Today marks a key milestone as the company delivers on its strategy. The new brand symbolises the transition underway to bring a clarity of focus, renewed sense of purpose and drive for sustainable growth for shareholders, clients and colleagues. Simplifying the business, coming together under one single brand is a key enabler to drive future growth."

It added: "The company’s client-led growth strategy is backed by a simplified structure focused on three core growth vectors; investments, adviser and personal. In the coming months all of the company’s client and customer propositions will rebrand to the new name – abrdn."

Stephen Bird, chief executive of abrdn, said: “I’m very excited to have reached this milestone. abrdn is so much more than a new name, it’s about our business coming together under a single global brand with a determined focus on enabling our clients and customers to be better investors”.

abrdn has also today announced a major new charity partnership with Hello World, which it noted is "a digital education charity that offers a practical, affordable and scalable solution to the global education deficit".

The financial services giant noted that education is currently inaccessible to more than 258 million children and that in excess of 40% of the global population has no access to the internet.

It added that Hello World partners with communities to build Hello Hubs, solar-powered and wi-fi enabled computer hubs, fitted with eight screens loaded with "world-class educational content so that children can learn, access digital educational resources and improve their future by connecting globally".

abrdn’s partnership with Hello World will fund communities to build 64 new Hello Hubs over two years, which the financial services group says will provide "life-changing opportunities and education to approximately 80,000 children and adults in disconnected communities".

Mr Bird said: "Acting with courage and conviction, being optimistic about the future and building powerful partnerships are all important attributes of the brand we are creating. That’s why I’m delighted that today we can also announce our partnership with Hello World – a charity that, like us, is solving the problems of today and tomorrow with innovative thinking, sustainable values and a futurist approach. Personally, I’m passionate about education and digital skills – and for me this partnership is a perfect fit with what abrdn stands for.”

Katrin McMillan, CEO and Founder of Hello World, added: "We are delighted to be working with abrdn. Our collaboration will have an enormous impact on the work we do and will immeasurably improve the lives of the communities we support. To partner with a business and a team so closely aligned with our approach and values is an especial bonus.

“Even before Covid-19 hit, 258 million children were out of school, equivalent to one in five globally. This figure rose to 800 million children during the pandemic. We work with communities in Uganda and Nepal to enable them to build their own digital solar-powered hubs, loaded with education software and connected to the internet. Our Hello Hubs are a practical and affordable solution to the global education deficit and, with the support of abrdn, we will now be able to expand our programme and work with many more communities.”

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.

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.”