Standard Life Aberdeen maintains dividend despite 30% drop in profits

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) has announced that it will maintain its dividend payment this year, despite a 30% drop in its profits before tax.

Keith Skeoch, chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen

The firm’s half-year results revealed that its adjusted profit before tax was £195 million compared to the £280m the year before. SLA’s fee-based revenue also dropped by 13% to £706m from £815m in the same period of 2019.

The firm also reported a loss before tax of £498m compared to a £629m profit int he same period last year. The firm said the loss reflected impairment charges relating to goodwill and intangible assets partly offset by gains on sales of Indian assets.

SLA said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on H1 2020 results was largely in relation to lower fee-based revenue, impairment charges and c£10m savings on discretionary costs.

Despite these losses, SLA has maintained its interim dividend at 7.3p, making it one of the few FTSE 100 firms to keep their dividend payment to shareholders in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keith Skeoch, chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen, commented: “Despite exceptional circumstances, we have delivered a resilient performance. In the first half of 2020 redemptions have slowed and net inflows have improved, excluding expected LBG withdrawals. Investment performance has been robust and we continue to deliver on our synergy commitments.

“There is no question that the impact of COVID-19 has played a role on our results today, and across our industry, particularly in relation to lower revenue. Our foundations are firm, we have a strong balance sheet which enables us to both invest in our business and maintain our interim dividend of 7.3p.

“We have a strong commitment to responsible investment, and a resolute belief in our purpose ‘Together we invest for a better future’. This is reflected in our response to the pandemic, where we have focused on protecting the safety and wellbeing of our people, ensuring we can continue to deliver for our clients and customers, and supporting the communities in which we operate. Our people recognise this and it’s reflected in the significant improvement we have seen in our culture over the last 12 months.

“This is my last set of results as chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen, following 21 years with the business – a period where I have seen the business evolve from a mutual life and pensions company to a capital-light global investment house. I am pleased to hand over a business with strong foundations, an enviable capital position, talented people, enduring relationships and big ambitions.”

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