There's nothing like being in right place at the right time.
The combination of ultra-low interest rates and a rush out of cash and into equities is doing wonders for those fund managers with a half-decent investment record.
Aberdeen Asset Management seems to have surprised even itself with how well life is turning out. Profit before tax increased 37% to £223m in the latest six-month period, earnings per share were up 43% and the dividend is being cranked up 36%. It doesn't get much better than that, and the £124m spent on shares for the deferred bonus scheme is a hint that some serious money will be made by senior employees after a fourfold rise in the share price since early 2010.
Aberdeen's specialism in emerging markets, currently a popular place to be, is half the story. But another half may be the rise of independent fund managers not housed within flabby banks or insurance companies. Standard Life, for example, has also been invigorated by its asset management business. Are these businesses, obliged to live without indulgent parent institutions, just sharper and thus better placed to capitalise on the tide of QE-inspired money looking for a home? It's a theory.
Either way, Aberdeen now finds itself in the remarkable position of trying to discourage investors from shoving too much money into some of its emerging-market funds. Its argument is that more cash is only useful if you've got interesting investment opportunities – Aberdeen's funds, for instance, already own 8% of Standard Chartered, which may close to satisfying anybody's appetite.
These perfect trading conditions can't last forever, of course, and a slowdown will arrive eventually. At that point, Aberdeen's bias towards emerging markets may become a problem. But, for the time being, the group can just enjoy being in a sweet spot.
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