Abrdn to Merge Underperforming Fund Gars into Diversified Asset Funds
Abrdn, the quoted asset manager, is set to merge its underperforming investment fund, Global Absolute Return Strategies (Gars), into its diversified asset funds. This decision comes after Gars experienced a significant decline in fortunes in recent years, with its assets falling from £27bn in May 2016 to just over £1bn. The fund, which was once Britain’s largest, will no longer operate as a standalone vehicle.
Gars was initially established to address the deficit in the Standard Life pension scheme, and its ‘absolute return’ objectives were later extended to institutional and wholesale clients. However, the fund’s mediocre performance led Abrdn to review its future for several months. The decision to merge Gars into a better-performing fund is expected to be positioned as a proactive move in response to shifts in client demand for absolute return funds.
Russell Barlow, Abrdn’s head of multi-asset and alternative investment solutions, stated that the strategic review aimed to clarify roles, reduce inefficiency, and increase collaboration to deliver the best outcomes for clients. The new structure will simplify processes and enable a more comprehensive comparison of opportunities across asset classes, rather than focusing on research within single asset classes and products. Barlow expressed confidence that this approach would better meet the needs of clients and deliver strong performance outcomes across a more relevant product range.
The merger of Gars into the diversified asset funds is part of Abrdn’s efforts to streamline underperforming operations. The company manages approximately £386bn in assets and is set to report its half-year results in two weeks.