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Aberdeen pays £150m for Murray Johnstone

Aberdeen Asset Management has snapped up Glasgow-based fund manager Murray Johnstone in a £150m deal, making it the fourth-biggest investment trust business in the UK.

The deal sees funds under management rise by 17 per cent to £27bn from £23.3bn.

It counterbalances Abbey National&#39s threat to move Scottish Provident&#39s £10.5bn funds away from Aberdeen.

Senior management at Murray will be offered roles in the enlarged group. The Murray Johnstone brand will be retained for its existing investment trusts, while its Oeics and unit trusts will be brought under the Aberdeen branding.

All £4bn of Murray&#39s funds will continue to be run from Glasgow. It was put up for sale after parent company United Asset Management was bought by South African fund manager Old Mutual earlier this year.

Aberdeen chief executive Martin Gilbert made no secret of his determination to win the Glasgow fund manager.

But Murray&#39s flagship £127m Murray enterprise investment trust may leave the Aberdeen stable to join former fund manager John Johnston at LeggMason Investors.

In a separate move, Murray Johnstone head of emerging markets Euan Matheson announced his departure last week for ING Baring.

Aberdeen unit trust managing director Gary Marsh-all says: “Murray Johnstone has stood still for a number of years.

“We will help it to grow and it will benefit from our strengths and distribution.”

Alan Steel Asset Management managing director Alan Steel says: “Aberdeen has delivered well over the years. If I were a Murray Johnstone investor, I would see it as a positive move for progress.”

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