Abrdn (ABDN) gave investors a lot to ponder after posting a downbeat set of results. While the asset manager still shows no signs of staunching the slow exit of client funds, and has been selling down stakes in Russian companies, the company’s insiders have been topping up their positions and taking advantage of a weaker share price in the process.
With the most to lose if shareholders decide a change of direction is needed, it came as no surprise that chief executive Stephen Bird took out the biggest position among the senior team, buying 50,000 shares at 199p apiece. His total stake is now 400,000. Chairman Sir Douglas Jardine Flint followed suit with 10,765 shares at an average of 196p. Other senior executives with new positions included the chief financial officer, Stephanie Bruce, and non-executive director and wealth management veteran Jonathan Asquith, who picked up 40,000 shares at 199p and 50,865 shares at 196p a share, respectively.
Whether the buys prefigure a recovery in Abrdn’s share price is difficult to tell. After several years of leaking funds, investors are still waiting for the 2017 merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life to deliver any discernible value. Therefore, we view the buys mainly as a confidence exercise.