The Business On: Martin Gilbert, Chief executive, Aberdeen Asset Management

 

Still battling through?

Very much so. Much of the City may be gloomy, but not so Aberdeen: it unveiled a 29 per cent rise in its dividend yesterday, paid for by a 39 per cent increase in profits.

New clients flooding in?

Not exactly – assets under management have fallen this year, thanks to fund outflows and market volatility. But business leaving has been replaced by higher-margin arrivals, particularly the pooled fund mandates the firm has won.

So Mr Gilbert is happy?

Yes. These results are further vindication for his strategy of organic growth: he opted out of the race to buy Gartmore last year, for example.

Has he always been so wise?

Maybe not. Aberdeen's expansion into split-capital investment trusts happened on his watch. When the splits collapsed, it emerged many savers had thought they were very low-risk and providers such as Aberdeen took a beating.

How did he bounce back?

Well, Aberdeen certainly copped its share of the flak, with Mr Gilbert accepting a public dressing down from MPs on the Treasury Select Committee and the share price collapsing. But he hunkered down, extricated the company from the splits business and changed its emphasis.

Job done, then?

He shows no sign of slowing down – he's just accepted a non-executive post at BSkyB.

What else should we know?

He's an excellent golfer, loves to ski – and was a classmate of former chancellor Alistair Darling at Aberdeen University.

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