Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Martin Gilbert hails strong first half for his AssetCo investment vehicle

Martin Gilbert.
Martin Gilbert.

North-east entrepreneur Martin Gilbert has hailed a strong first half performance of “significant progress” by his new asset management vehicle.

AssetCo, in which Mr Gilbert – its chairman – owns a near-10% stake as part of a consortium’s 29.8% investment, today (June 28) posted results for the six months to March 31.

It also updated the market on a recent acquisition, Edinburgh-based Saracen Fund Managers, in a deal worth £2.75 million, being paid for through a share placement.

We believe AssetCo can play a key role by investing in, supporting and developing businesses to meet the needs of investors.”

Martin Gilbert

Subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the admission of new shares in AssetCo to trading on the Alternative Investment Market is expected by the end of September.

Saracen has three funds, operating on the T Bailey Fund Services platform. These are its Global Income and Growth Fund, with about £10m of assets under management (AuM), UK Alpha Fund – around £14m of AuM – and UK Income Fund, home to about £2m of AuM.

The board believes there exist significant opportunities to enhance the distribution and appeal of Saracen’s existing funds and to widen the funds offered.”

Mr Gilbert is the former chief executive and a co-founder of Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM).

He also had spells as co-chief executive and vice-chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, which was created in 2017 through a £3.8 billion takeover of AAM by Standard Life.

Other investors in AssetCo include Peter McKellar – the former global head of private markets at Aberdeen Standard Investments – and ToscaFund Asset Management, where Mr Gilbert is chairman. Mr McKellar is now AssetCo’s chief executive and deputy chairman.

Mr Gilbert, Mr McKellar and their consortium partners have been investors since January 8.

In January and February this year the company acquired 5 million shares in asset manager River and Mercantile Group, where Mr Gilbert is deputy chairman, for £10.4m.

AssetCo had previously described itself as a provider of management and resources to the fire and emergency services in the Middle East.

Change of direction

On February 8, the firm announced its intention to change tack and focus on the development of an asset and wealth business.

The company had no revenue during the six months to March 31 but accrued £57.8m through a lawsuit and costs stemming from a Court of Appeal ruling, which saw accountancy firm Grant Thornton held liable for negligence after it failed to expose fraud at AssetCo.

Monmouthshire-based AssetCo now has £30.9m at its disposal to fund its asset and wealth management strategy following a £26.9m distribution to shareholders.

Share price jumps nearly 6%

The firm reported pre-tax profits of £22.3m, compared with losses of £700,000 a year ago.

Shares in the company were up nearly 6%, at £20.65, as of 1.30pm, but fell back to end the session unchanged at £19.50.

Spelling out AssetCo’s change of direction, Mr Gilbert said: “Our new business strategy, approved by shareholders in April, is to invest in, build and operate asset and wealth management businesses.

“The financial services sector is facing numerous challenges, but the importance of the industry in enabling clients and customers to achieve their financial goals is even greater.


Martin Gilbert ‘not retired’ as investor vehicle recruits new talent


“We believe AssetCo can play a key role by investing in, supporting and developing businesses to meet the needs of investors.

“Our investment in River and Mercantile Group and our conditional acquisition of Saracen Fund Managers are part of this thinking.

“Over the coming months we hope to announce further activity as we roll out AssetCo’s strategy and build the business.”

Saracen offers ‘significant opportunities’

He added: “The board believes there exist significant opportunities to enhance the distribution and appeal of Saracen’s existing funds and to widen the funds offered.

“Saracen offers the Company the opportunity to acquire a FCA-regulated entity and the associated authorisations, subject to FCA change in controller approval.”

Mr Gilbert revealed he and the rest of AssetCo’s management team had been examining “a number of organic and inorganic proposals”.


Abrdn: What do you think of Standard Life Aberdeen’s new vowel-light moniker?


These are were various stages of discussion and negotiation, he said, adding: “The focus of this work is on areas of the asset and wealth management sector where the board believes that, due to the structural changes impacting the sector, attractive opportunities for investment exist.

“The board is hopeful of being able to announce further activity in the short term.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]