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Gilbert: hard closing Kaloo's EM fund would be 'last resort'

Gilbert: hard closing Kaloo's EM fund would be 'last resort'

Martin Gilbert has said hard closing Devan Kaloo's Emerging Markets fund will be a measure of 'last resort'.

Speaking to analysts after Aberdeen Asset Management reported to investors, Gilbert said he was looking at ways of stemming flows used by other managers.

Aberdeen's onshore Emerging Market fund was roughly £6 billion in size when its soft closure was announced in February.

According to a note from investment bank Merrill Lynch inflows had picked up again during the fourth quarter, though Gilbert said these totalled roughly £5 billion for the year once the quiet summer months were taken into account.

But he added: 'We'd really like it to be down from that.'

Gilbert explained that although closing off some distribution channels had helped, flows were still not tailing off fast enough.

However when the chief executive was asked if a hard close on the fund was now an option, Gilbert said such a step could have unintended consequences.

'I think we would do anything but that.  It has consequences like people taking money out.  [A hard close] would be a last resort,' he said.

Revenue and profits up

In its final results for the year ended 30 September Aberdeen said it had been able to grow its revenue 11% to £869.2 million, up from £784 million.

The fund house also revealed its underlying profit before tax had jumped.   It rose 15% to £347.8 million, up from £301.9 million, over the year to 30 September, and over the same stretch assets under management climbed 10% to £187.2 billion, compared to £169.9 billion in 2011.

Although the year has been a successful one for the FTSE 100 firm, Aberdeen's chair warned the global economic uncertainty was far from over.

'It is perhaps unwise to anticipate an end to the uncertainty engendered by the global economic and political backdrop,' Roger Cornick said.

But Cornick added equity based products offered through the group continued to generate healthy sales, leaving him confident of the firm's performance over the months ahead.

Also speaking to investors as Aberdeen's results landed, Gilbert said he was pleased the firm had been able to navigate the challenging environment.

He said: 'This has been a difficult and uncertain year in the financial markets. Against this backdrop we are pleased to have delivered extremely strong performance for our shareholders by focusing on investment performance and by delivering for our clients.

Gilbert added: 'We have been rewarded by continuing strong interest in our funds and significant growth in assets under management.

'We have strengthened our balance sheet further and remain confident that our long-term philosophy and rigourous investment processes will continue to drive investment performance and shareholder value.'

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