SLA poaches from Brooks Macdonald for personal wealth CEO

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Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) has appointed Caroline Connellan as chief executive of its personal wealth business.

Connellan joins from wealth manager Brooks Macdonald Group, where she has led the firm as chief executive since April 2017.

In her new role as a member of the executive leadership team based in London, she will report directly to Stephen Bird, the chief executive of SLA.

Connellan previously worked at Standard Life from 2008 until 2012 as group strategy director and then UK customer services director.

At Brooks Macdonald she has overseen strong year on year growth in funds under management, revenue and profit as well as executing key acquisitions and driving significant transformation of the business.

Prior to this, she held key senior roles at HSBC, including head of UK premier and wealth, and has extensive consulting experience across the asset management and wealth sector with McKinsey. Her earlier career included being a private client fund manager with Newton Investment Management.

SLA’s personal wealth business includes 1825 Financial Planning and SLA’s direct-to-customer propositions including Digital Retirement Advice.

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The firm recently announced its intention to rebrand to ‘Abrdn’, after selling off the Standard Life brand to Phoenix.

Bird said: “I am delighted that Caroline will be joining us. 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.

“Alongside significant investment in asset management and our adviser support business, our intention is 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.”

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Connellan added: “It’s an exciting time to be joining SLA given its ambitions and commitment to the growing wealth market.  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.

“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.”