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Martin Gilbert: it was brutal for us

Martin Gilbert: it was brutal for us

Aberdeen chief executive Martin Gilbert is sitting more comfortably after his firm took a 'hammering' earlier this year on the back of a sell off in emerging markets.

'It was brutal for us, in November, December, January and February we were really hammered by our standards by money coming out,' Gilbert said in a conference call to investors.

The chief executive's comments come as half yearly results revealed £8.8 billion in outflows from the asset manager, as emerging markets suffered from negative investor sentiment.

Gilbert expressed relief that Aberdeen's period of underperformance now appears to be over

'March and April were really welcome for us. Whatever we might think and tell our investors we will underperform, its nice when it does recover,' he said.

Gilbert said the firm had stuck to its convictions and not made any major changes.

'The worst thing you can do in time of bad performance is chase performance. If anything turnover decreased. When these is massive outflows and massive inflows into emerging markets we tend to get hit by that,' he said.

Gilbert did express concern that investors could be waiting for stronger prices in emerging market equity before selling out, following a period of underperformance.

'My worry always is that people sometimes wait for a recovery in performance before they take money out, but so far so good and it looks like sentiment has at least returned to reality,' Gilbert said.

Elsewhere, the firm said it is still seeing demand for emerging market debt and high yield, and that the newly acquired Swip property fund was proving popular.

Another effect of the Swip acquisition is the group has significantly increased the size its UK equity holdings, and has moved from having a small position in AstraZeneca to being one of the largest holders.

Now the takeover is complete, the firm is looking at cost efficiencies. The front office of the combined business will be rationalised by the end of the financial year, while back office savings will be coming in during 2015.

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