Abrdn boss Stephen Bird joins IA board

Replaces BNY Mellon IM’s Hanneke Smits

Stephen Bird abrdn
Stephen Bird


Abrdn chief executive Stephen Bird has been appointed to the Investment Association’s board.

Bird will replace outgoing director Hanneke Smits, CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management, effective immediately, the UK trade body announced.

He joins his predecessor at Abrdn Keith Skeoch, who has chaired the board since 2020, as well as Legal & General Investment Management CEO Michelle Scrimgeour and JP Morgan Asset Management’s Emea head Patrick Thomson, who are deputy chairs.

Skeoch said Bird’s focus on customers, experience in technological transformation and global outlook “will be a great complement” to the board’s strengths.

“I would also like to extend my thanks and gratitude to Hanneke for her dedicated service over the last three years and look forward to her remaining a friend to the board,” he added.

Since taking the reins of Abrn in September 2020, Bird has overhauled the fund group, shaking up its senior management team and pulling the trigger on a string of acquisitions to enhance the firm’s digital capabilities and retail presence, the most notable being D2C firm Interactive Investor, which it purchased for £1.5bn.

Perhaps the most controversial move, though, has been his decision to rebrand Standard Life Aberdeen to Abrdn last April.

See also: Abrdn outflows slow to £6.2bn in ‘reset’ year as Man Group assets jump 20%

Bird said he was pleased to be joining the board at an important time for the industry. “Investment management plays a vital role supporting millions of people to save for a more financially secure future. Technology, demographics and economic shifts are combining to create significant challenges, and opportunities, for the industry, and the IA has a critical role to play.”

Prior to joining Abrdn, Bird spent 21 years at Citigroup, serving as CEO of its global consumer banking division from 2015 to 2019.

He is a member of the Financial Services Growth and Development Board in Scotland and holds an MBA in economics and finance from University College Cardiff, where he is also an Honorary Fellow.



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