FOR investors in Standard Life Aberdeen, it is the theme which will not go away.

The latest update it gave to the City revealed a familiar story of net outflows from funds managed by the investment giant. On the upside, net outflows were not as severe as those reported at the halfway stage last year, but the problem persists.

And it is a problem because it affects the profitability of the institution. As George Salmon, equity analyst at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, observed yesterday, the difficulty for SLA is that the outflows are focused on two areas where it generates its highest margins: equities and GARS, its flagship absolute return fund.

While investment performance is improving across the board, as reported yesterday, profits will continue to come under pressure until the inflows into these areas begin to exceed the outflows.

Of course, all this is made more complicated by the background of continuing economic and political uncertainty. That was again underlined by SLA yesterday, which reiterated the warning it made in March that the uncertainty – sparked by Brexit and other tensions such as the US-China trade dispute – would affect investor sentiment throughout the year.

There were positives for SLA to report, though, including the successful resolution to its dispute with Lloyds over the £109 billion Scottish Widows asset management contract. And 1825, its UK financial advice business, continues to expand.