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Aberdeen CEO: It's too late to get into Europe

The chief executive of leading UK fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management has warned investors that it is now too late to put their money into European equities thanks to overly high expectations for returns.

Martin Gilbert, who oversees over $500 billion of assets under management, said the "insatiable desire" for income has propelled stocks in Europe to their current lofty levels, but investors looking to cash in should have gotten in at the start of the year.

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Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management.
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Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management.

"It would have been better if we had all bought them at the beginning of the year, I suspect there is a lot of liquidity going into European stocks just because of QE (quantitative easing)," Gilbert told CNBC.

"Everyone is expecting them to go higher which often means they are going a bit lower – so it probably is just a bit too late," he said, speaking at an investment conference in London.

The asset management boss said he still preferred equities over other asset classes, suggesting investors should look at "well managed" stocks with the right dividend yield over bonds.

Huge flows have also gone into alternative assets such as property, he said, which although expensive still offer better value than government bonds.

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"They (property) are not as overvalued as say government bond yields, but you are giving up liquidity obviously for that pick-up in yield, so you either give up duration or liquidity. We are seeing massive amounts of flows into property especially London commercial property. We have actually been selling London commercial property and moving into more out into the regions," he said.

Known for its heavy exposure to emerging markets, Aberdeen suffered outflows of £4.8 billion ($7 billion) in the last quarter of 2014 as oil price weakness and U.S. rate rise fears dented investor sentiment.

However shares in the group have bounced back from the selling seen towards the end of last year and are currently up over 11 percent year to date.

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