Standard Life group general counsel Rushad Abadan has been appointed to take up the group GC role at Standard Life Aberdeen when the investment firm’s merger with Aberdeen Asset Management goes live next month.
The combination - which was backed by shareholders and cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority in June - will create a company with around 9,000 employees, overseeing assets worth £660bn.
Abadan - who joined Standard Life in January 2016 from RBS, where he was deputy general counsel - will be group GC of the merged firm, while Aberdeen Asset Management general counsel Gordon Brough will be GC of the company’s asset management division.
The in-house legal function at the new company will be divided into two main teams – one for asset management and one for the the pensions and savings side of the business, with roughly sixty lawyers in each team.
Neither Standard Life nor Aberdeen Asset Management operate a formal panel of external law firms. Standard Life is known to use Slaughter and May and Addleshaw Goddard, while Aberdeen Asset Management also works with Slaughters, as well as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Scots firm Maclay Murray & Spens.
Freshfields and Maclays both advised Aberdeen on the merger – which was announced in March - while Slaughters took the lead role for Standard Life.
After the deal was announced, the company said that it expected to cut around 800 jobs as a result of the tie-up, with savings also set to come from “reductions in legal, professional and consultancy fees”.
However, due to the work involved in ensuring the success of the merger, as well as the company’s immediate growth plans, the size of the in-house legal team is expected to remain broadly unchanged in the short to medium term.
Although Standard Life itself does not have a formal roster of external law firms, its asset management division Standard Life Investments does use a panel of five firms – Addleshaw Goddard, CMS, Herbert Smith Freehills, Maples Teesdale and Shepherd and Wedderburn – which it reviewed last summer.