Caroline Connellan departs Brooks Macdonald to lead SLA's personal wealth arm

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Caroline Connellan has been appointed CEO of personal wealth at SLA after four years leading Brooks Macdonald

Caroline Connellan has left her role as chief executive of Brooks Macdonald to join Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) as chief executive of personal wealth, which includes 1825 Financial Planning and D2C proposition Digital Retirement Advice.

SLA said the appointment of Connellan has come at a “key juncture” as it seeks to “significantly grow” its personal wealth business under its recently announced unifying single brand Abrdn.

Brooks Macdonald has announced that Connellan, who had led the wealth manager for four years, will be replaced by Andrew Shepherd, currently group deputy chief executive and chief executive of the group’s international business, having joined the business in 2002.

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The company confirmed that Shepherd will begin a process of handover from Connellan with immediate effect and will become group chief executive from 1 July 2021.

In her new role, Connellan will report directly to chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen Stephen Bird, as a member of the executive leadership team.

Bird said: “She is an outstanding talent with clear and proven ability in building exceptional wealth management businesses, both organically and via acquisition. Critically, she has a deep customer-centric mindset and extensive experience in creating compelling and innovative offerings. 

“Earlier this year, we outlined our strategy for growth encompassing three vectors; asset management, adviser and personal.”

He added that alongside significant investment in asset management and its adviser support business, SLA intends to “build a market-leading wealth management proposition to capture value in the growing savings and pre-retirement market”.

“The appointment of Caroline to lead our personal wealth business will be instrumental in delivering our objectives and I’m extremely pleased that she has shown strong confidence in our strategy and brand by joining us,” Bird said.

“Stephen’s vision for the business is dynamic and bold, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead and shape the personal wealth business, building on its current quality offering,” Connellan added.

Standard Life Aberdeen set for ‘modern, dynamic’ rebrand to Abrdn

“There is an increasing need for individuals to save for the future, particularly for retirement, in a way that works for them – I believe we can play an important role in this, through a market-leading offering, digital innovation and strong customer relationships. I’m hugely looking forward to joining the leadership team at SLA and playing my part in leading the change over the coming years.”

At Brooks Macdonald, Shepherd has been group deputy CEO since 2015, and took up his current international role in April 2019.

Alan Carruthers, chair of Brooks Macdonald, said: “His unrivalled experience and knowledge of the industry, and commitment to Brooks Macdonald, position him uniquely to lead the group and build on its significant momentum. I am confident he will continue this progress and drive forward our strategic vision for Brooks Macdonald as the leading investment manager for intermediaries.”

Carruthers added: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Caroline for her leadership over the past four years. She has been central to the transformation of the business, guiding it through a period of change, leaving it in a position of strength and primed for further growth. We wish Caroline well in the next stage of her career.”