Five people are set to depart Abrdn, including ESG portfolio manager Lesley Duncan, following its decision to merge its UK and European equities teams.
Ben Ritchie (pictured), head of European equities, will lead the newly combined 20-strong team, while UK equities boss Andrew Millington steps into a new role as head of research and investment process, equities.
The overhaul sees two portfolio managers exit, as well as a pair of investment directors and an investment analyst, Abrdn has confirmed.
Alongside Duncan, who co-manages the £286.6m ASI UK Ethical Equity fund, Kay Eyre, who runs the £643.1m Standard Life European Equity Pension fund, will depart.
Also leaving are Jonathan Fearon, who oversees the ASI Europe ex UK Growth Equity fund, and Jonathan Allison, manager on the ASI European Sustainable Equity fund.
Finally, Peter Silver, an analyst in the UK equities team, will also be exiting the business.
Meanwhile, four junior members of the team are to take on portfolio management responsibilities.
Several of Abrdn’s UK equity funds were flagged for performance issues in its latest assessment of value (AoV) report. The largest was the £681.6m ASI UK Income Unconstrained Equity fund, run by Thomas Moore.
The same month the report was released, Portfolio Adviser revealed it would be liquidating two funds, though these were both from its fixed income stable.
A company spokesperson said “refining” the team’s structure will deliver three key benefits, including a greater focus on sustainable, income, value and thematic investing, a greater breadth of idea generation and more targeted ESG engagement and stewardship.
They added that Ritchie’s appointment would deliver “continuity and stability” given his “deep investment and leadership experience” across European equity markets.
He joined Aberdeen Asset Management in 2002 and was head of pan-European equities at the time of its merger with Standard Life Investments.
On Wednesday Abrdn announced it would return £300m to shareholders by launching a buyback programme in a pivot away from its highly acquisitive strategy. This sent its shares up 8% to £1.62 by midday, though they have since dipped back down to £1.58.