Union Investment: Why we chose Luxembourg
ABERDEEN STANDARD INVESTMENTS: WHY WE CHOSE LUXEMBOURG
Aberdeen Standard Investments (formerly Aberdeen Asset Management) was established in Luxembourg in 1988, and since then has continued to expand. The firm recently merged with Standard Life and is now one of the largest investment firms in the financial centre by assets under management. We sat down with Steen Foldberg, Head of Luxembourg and Managing Director, to find out how the business is developing.
LFF: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ABERDEEN STANDARD INVESTMENTS WITHIN THE FINANCIAL CENTRE?
Aberdeen Standard Investments is one of the largest players in Luxembourg, operating more than 150 funds. Standard Life started operating an outsourced model back in year 2000. We service a wide range of worldwide banks and distributors as well as local Luxembourg financial institutions and family offices. In addition, we have many local investors investing into our investment solutions.
LFF: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING LOCATED IN LUXEMBOURG?
There are many benefits of being in Luxembourg, both from an investor and corporate perspective as well as for the employees. It is not a coincidence that Luxembourg has evolved to become one of the largest financial centres in the world and the 2nd largest jurisdiction for funds after the US. This is because Luxembourg has been at the forefront of developing a local legal framework built on European laws and adapted to serve clients worldwide.
This centre of excellence has helped create a financial centre ecosystem of experts in all financial aspects.
The multi-lingual workforce means that clients and partners are often served by people who speak their language and on top understand their different local legal frameworks and cultures. This centre of excellence has helped create a financial centre ecosystem of experts in all financial aspects. On top of that you have the central geographical location, the high standard of living and not least the beauty of the country itself which makes it an attractive place to live.
LFF: WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN ACTIVITIES AND HOW HAVE THEY DEVELOPED?
Our company, Aberdeen Standard Investments, focuses on asset management. We provide investment solutions to our investors either directly or through partners like banks, insurance companies or family offices. We grow our business by listening to our clients and by adding our expertise to develop and manage investment solutions to help clients achieve their long-term goals. We have teams in 50 offices worldwide that service and sell our solutions.
Our organisation in Luxembourg is set up as a hub fully equipped to service our investors, clients and colleagues.
LFF: WHERE LIES THE EXPERTISE OF THE LUXEMBOURG TEAM AND HOW DO THESE COMPLEMENT THE GROUP?
Our organisation in Luxembourg is set up as a hub fully equipped to service our investors, clients and colleagues. Our key delivery is to provide the international network with investment solutions and to work with the group to oversee, monitor and execute the overall strategy of the group and ensure that we stay in line with Luxembourg legislation.
LFF: CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THE INTERACTION OF THE LUXEMBOURG OFFICE AND THE TEAMS BASED IN OTHER COUNTRIES?
We get around 30 to 50 requests on a daily basis that we need to deal with. This can be around launching funds in a new jurisdiction, tax matters or any other aspects. In addition, we work closely with our fund managers on everything from risk management, compliance to investment execution and of course with the group’s central functions.
We have teams in 50 offices worldwide that service and sell our solutions.
LFF: CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE IMPACT OF THE MERGER WITH STANDARD LIFE AND HOW THAT IS DEVELOPING YOUR BUSINESS ?
When you merge two large players in an industry it is very important to quickly realise the benefits of scale and still keep what is unique about both organisations. In this case, the solutions and client base is extremely complimentary and the group has quickly emerged as a single organisation creating the 2nd largest investment company in Europe. As we streamline the operation, and in Luxembourg also insource many operational activities, we are ready to use the power of the machine to offer additional investment solutions to our clients and use the international network to cross-sell the combined offering. In effect, it also means that our assets under management in Luxembourg will almost double when we have completed the integration. The world does not stand still and we are working on many new investment solutions, also in the ETF area, for example introducing a fund using artificial intelligence.
The solutions and client base is extremely complimentary and the group has quickly emerged as a single organisation creating the 2 nd argest investment company in Europe.
LFF: HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE UNCERTAINTY OF BREXIT?
Brexit is like the weather: everyone talks about it, but no one really knows how it will eventually develop. That said, I am confident that common sense will prevail and that we will get a good working arrangement with the UK.
Our key delivery is to provide the international network with investment solutions.
For Luxembourg and for Europe, an overly hard Brexit in our industry, will have profound negative impact for the capital markets and investors or pension savers.
LFF: HOW DOES THE LUXEMBOURG’S ASSET MANAGEMENT ECOSYSTEM SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS?
It’s great to have such a wide range of experts sitting within what is very often only a few hundred meters. I do not believe any country in the world can replicate what we got in terms of expertise here in Luxembourg when it comes to life cycle fund management, structuring solutions and cross-border distribution. As such, we rely heavily on our partners and they are part of our value proposition.
It’s great to have such a wide range of experts sitting within what is very often only a few hundred meters.
LFF: HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR ACTIVITIES EVOLVING?
Right now, I’m just focused on delivering the integration and make the merger Brexit-proof. Thereafter, our client demands and the strength of our brand will give us great prospects for the foreseeable future.
LFF: WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE MOST ABOUT LIVING AND WORKING IN LUXEMBOURG?
I have lived and worked here for nearly 28 years. I guess that says a lot. But what I really enjoy is the Luxembourg culture, the people and not least the international and safe environment we enjoy.