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Tale of the tape: how Aberdeen and SLI's managers compare

Tale of the tape: how Aberdeen and SLI's managers compare

The coming together of two of European asset management’s largest groups would result in a veritable colossus.

Standard Life Investments and Aberdeen's combined £660 billion in assets would move the combined group into the big league and put it just outside the world’s top 20 in assets under management.

Across both groups there are a total of 128 fund managers tracked by Citywire, active in 91 investment sectors. The combined experience of those managers is just shy of a thousand years (980 years, 10 months).

The talent pool

Looking at their Citywire Ratings, it is actually Aberdeen, which in spite of its troubles, is bringing the largest breadth and depth to the marriage. Not only in terms of pure ratings, but also in the variety of sectors in which it is active and successful.

Citywire Fund Manager Ratings


With a combined total of 22 ratings, it would place them 27th globally for three year risk-adjusted returns over the period to the end of January this year.Citywire Fund Manager Ratings look at the individual risk-adjusted returns of every manager tracked globally over the past three years and they are updated monthly.

The highest rated fund managers are all from Aberdeen, with AAA-rated Australian equity specialist Robert Penaloza ranked in first position. However, Penaloza only runs retail money in Australia, making him niche and inaccessible to most.

ManagerRatingGroupCitywire SectorContributing Funds
Robert PenalozaAAAAberdeenEquities - AustraliaAberdeen Australian Equities
   Equities - Australia Small & Medium CompaniesAberdeen Australian Small Companies
   Equities - AustraliaAberdeen Ex-20 Australian Equities
Joseph McFaddenAAAberdeenEquities - US Small & Medium CompaniesAberdeen US Small Cap Equity Fund
Adrian LimAAAberdeenEquities - Asia Pacific Excluding JapanAberdeen Asia-Pacific (Ex-Japan) Equity Fund
David CummingASLIEquities - UK (All Companies)Standard Life Inv UK Equity Recovery
Douglas BurtnickAAberdeenEquities - USAberdeen US Multi-Cap Equity Fund
   Equities - US Small & Medium CompaniesAberdeen US Small Cap Equity Fund
Jason KotikAAberdeenEquities - USAberdeen US Multi-Cap Equity Fund
   Equities - US Small & Medium CompaniesAberdeen US Small Cap Equity Fund
Ralph BassettAAberdeenEquities - USAberdeen American Opportunities
   Equities - USAberdeen Global - North American Equity
   Equities - US Small & Medium CompaniesAberdeen Global - North American SmCos
   Equities - USAberdeen North American Equity
   Equities - USAberdeen US Multi-Cap Equity Fund
   Equities - US Small & Medium CompaniesAberdeen US Small Cap Equity Fund
Samantha LambASLIBonds - Emerging Markets Global CorporatesSLI Glo SICAV Emerging Market Corporate Bd
Wolfgang Kuhn+AberdeenBonds - Euro CorporatesAberdeen Global II - Euro Corporate Bond
Fiona Gillespie+AberdeenMixed Assets - Aggressive GBPAberdeen Multi-Asset
Lyndon Gill+AberdeenEquities - UK Equity IncomeSW Multi-Manager UK Equity Income
Chern-Yeh Kwok+AberdeenEquities - JapanAberdeen Global - Japanese Equity
   Equities - Japanese Small & Medium CompaniesAberdeen Global - Japanese Smaller Comp
Harry Nimmo+SLIEquities - UK Smaller CompaniesStandard Life Inv UK Smaller Companies
Kieran Curtis+SLIBonds - Emerging Markets Global Local CurrencySLI Glo SICAV EM Local Curr Debt
   Bonds - Emerging Markets Global CorporatesSLI Glo SICAV Emerging Market Corporate Bd
Matthew Davies+AberdeenMixed Assets - Flexible GBPAberdeen Capital
Michael Turner+AberdeenMixed Assets - Balanced GBPAberdeen Diversified Income
   Mixed Assets - Aggressive GBPAberdeen Multi-Asset

Next on the list is the impressive AA-rated Joseph McFadden, who co-manages the Aberdeen US Smaller Companies fund with Ralph Bassett.

This is one of the best US smaller companies portfolios in the world. Over the past five years the duo rank eighth out of 604 managers globally on a risk-adjusted basis, which puts them in the 98th percentile of this highly competitive sector.

Then we get to AA-rated Asian equity manager Adrian Lim. While Aberdeen’s veteran fund manager Hugh Young has been through a torrid run of performance over the past five years in the same field, Lim has consistently stayed ahead of the benchmark.

Following Lim is Standard Life Investments' (SLI) top-rated fund manager, A-rated David Cumming. As manager of the group’s UK Equity Recovery fund, he has consistently outperformed the benchmark and only failed to receive a monthly rating three times since September 2013.

Veterans' day

Hugh Young is the longest serving manager across either group, with nearly 30 years as named fund manager in Asian equities.

He is the individual with the most experience in this sector, following last week’s announcement that Stewart Investors' Angus Tulloch is set to retire.

While recent performance has not been great, Young is responsible for making Aberdeen what it is today.


Following him are a clutch of SLI managers in UK-centric equity sectors. Susan Tarry in Europe ex-UK, Karen McKellar in the UK All Companies and the renowned Harry Nimmo in UK Smaller Companies peer groups.

Rounding out the top 10 in the longevity stakes are Aberdeen’s mixed asset manager Simon Wood and global emerging market stalwart Devan Kaloo

Greater than a sum of its parts

Next up we take a look at the combined firm's Citywire Group Ratings. These examine the performance of every manager in a sector over a seven-year period and reward consistency and longevity.

Group Ratings Breakdown
Fixed Income
SectorRatingGroup
Emerging Markets Global Hard CurrencySilverSLI
Europe High YieldBronzeAberdeen
Equities  
SectorRatingGroup
Asia Pacific Excluding JapanSilverSLI
Asia Pacific Including JapanBronzeAberdeen
ChinaGoldSLI
Emerging Markets EuropeSilverAberdeen
GlobalSilverSLI
Global Emerging MarketsGoldAberdeen
Global Emerging Markets Smaller CompaniesBronzeAberdeen
IndiaBronzeAberdeen
Japanese Small & Medium CompaniesBronzeAberdeen
Latin AmericaSilverAberdeen
Natural ResourcesBronzeAberdeen
UK Equity IncomeBronzeSLI
US Small & Medium CompaniesGoldAberdeen
Mixed Assets  
SectorRatingGroup
Absolute Return GBPBronzeAberdeen
Balanced GBPBronzeSLI
Conservative GBPBronzeSLI

Again, Aberdeen bring the lion’s share to equation with a greater number of group ratings. However, neither group currently has a platinum rating awarded to the top 5% of groups in each sector.

At an individual sector level, the bias towards equity markets is clear with just two ratings awarded for fixed income; for performance in the Hard Currency Emerging Market Debt and European High Yield sectors.

In equity markets, it is perhaps surprising to see SLI awarded a rating for Asia Pacific ex Japan, which has for so long been Aberdeen’s bread and butter.

This has been achieved in the main by William Malcolm, manager of the Standard Life Investments Asian Pacific Growth and Pacific Basin funds. He ranks 48th out of 137 managers globally for his risk-adjusted returns over the past five years.

The standout ratings are the golds received in China by SLI and in Global Emerging Markets and US Smaller Companies by Aberdeen.

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Simon Wood
Simon Wood
100/141 in Mixed Assets - Balanced GBP (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 17.59%
Karen McKellar
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102/154 in Equity - UK (All Companies) (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 25.25%
Harry Nimmo
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10/47 in Equity - UK Smaller Companies (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 73.25%
Ralph Bassett
Ralph Bassett
3/40 in Equity - US Small & Medium Companies (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 69.19%
Adrian Lim
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26/39 in Equity - India (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 53.22%
Hugh Young
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32/39 in Equity - India (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 45.14%
Devan Kaloo
Devan Kaloo
159/213 in Equity - Global Emerging Markets (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 37.87%
Susan Tarry
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61/85 in Equity - Europe Excluding UK (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 45.50%
William Malcolm
William Malcolm
56/123 in Equity - Asia Pacific Excluding Japan (Performance over 3 years) Average Total Return: 54.09%
Robert Penaloza
Robert Penaloza
David Cumming
David Cumming
Angus Tulloch
Angus Tulloch
Joseph McFadden
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