Investment Week editor Katrina Lloyd says there are wider questions for the industry as Aberdeen/Standard Life look set to become the newest fund powerhouse.
In May last year, Aberdeen AM CEO Martin Gilbert told Bloomberg TV he has resisted "a lot of interest" from rival firms and still plans for the group to remain independent, which he described as a "massive benefit".
However, there was only so long he could hold out as the asset manager recently reported its 15th consecutive quarter of net outflows. The rout from emerging markets took a heavy toll on Aberdeen, and attempts to effectively diversify the business in terms of product range and distribution appear too little too late.
But why Standard Life, which was forced to confirm at the weekend it is in merger talks with Aberdeen, as a suitor? Well, aside from the Scottish heritage, the attractions of the ultimate vertically-integrated business combining the mighty GARS and MyFolio franchises with Aberdeen's emerging markets/Asia expertise are obvious.
In addition, rather than the chequered history of some life company asset management arms, Standard Life Investments has emerged as a strong performer in its own right, which is key to the growth of the wider business.
However, a number of questions are still to be answered if the recommended all-share merger deal goes through. The groups have some complementary specialisms, including fixed income for Aberdeen and UK equities and global small caps for Standard Life, for example.
However, there are a number of overlaps in the product suite, especially in areas like multi-asset (where Aberdeen has been focusing recently), multi-manager, emerging markets, and property.
It also remains to be seen how DFM and platform Parmenion, which Aberdeen acquired in 2015, would fit into a possible new structure.
Parmenion has established a strong reputation for itself in the market through integrating with advisers' business models, but Standard Life already has its own wrap platform and the recently acquired Elevate, as well as the successful MyFolio risk-based range.
Leadership and branding
Meanwhile, the feasibility of joint-CEOs is one which raised eyebrows after it was announced the newly combined Janus Henderson will be co-run by the firms' chief executives Dick Weil and Andrew Formica.
If the Aberdeen/Standard Life deal goes ahead, Keith Skeoch, CEO of Standard Life, and Gilbert would become co-CEOs of the combined group, while the board would be split 50/50 between the firms.
It would be interesting to see how this would work in practice, even in the short term, especially given Gilbert is used to speaking his mind on a number of industry issues and is a well-known figure in the wider financial media.
Branding would be another consideration. Both Aberdeen and Standard Life have strong identities, although it is now known the final name would contain elements of both brands.
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