'It was not terrible, but it was not great': ASI's Fowler and Bint on why the future looks bright for GARS

Poor performance led to exodus

James Baxter-Derrington
clock • 6 min read
David Bint and Gerry Fowler

David Bint and Gerry Fowler

The extraordinary outflows of more than £20bn over the course of four years from Aberdeen Standard Investments’ (now abrdn) flagship Global Absolute Return Strategies fund (GARS) have been laid squarely at the feet of poor performance, according to the firm’s own multi-asset investment specialist David Bint and absolute return investment director Gerry Fowler.

Bint and Fowler explained the exodus from GARS since 2016 was the result of a "static" portfolio, which relied on false assumptions and led to poor performance. "You cannot get away from the fact that performance was not good enough," Bint said. "There are other reasons [for the outflows], but simply, performance was not hitting the objective that our clients had a right to expect." Launched under the Standard Life Investments umbrella in 2008, GARS was once the largest fund in the UK, with £26.8bn in assets under management (AUM) at its May 2016 peak.  Today, the fund stands at ju...

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