Charles Stanley's assets under management fell 4.4% over the first quarter, as volatility ticked up and global equity markets struggled to make any meaningful headway.
Net inflows of £200 million were not strong enough to reverse the mark down in asset prices, with the FTSE UK Private Investor Balanced Index falling 5.1% during the three months to the end of March.
Total client funds stood at £23.8 billion at the end of March, 0.8% lower over the past 12 months. A net 7.9% increase in discretionary funds over the period represented a positive, the group said.
‘As we enter our new financial year, our focus remains on growing our higher margin assets,’ noted chief executive Paul Abberley (pictured).
‘We also intend to build scale in our execution-only platform and invest in our network of financial planners and distribution capabilities. Concurrently, we continue to work on improving productivity and enhance operational efficiency.’
The business last year noted it had completed a long-term overhaul of its business model, but an unexpected uptick in regulatory costs was likely to drag down full-year profits.
‘We have faced various headwinds,’ Abberley noted at the time.
‘First, there is an unusually high level of regulatory change being introduced in 2018 which is expected to give rise to an additional IT and process change cost in the second half of approximately £900,000.
‘Secondly, although overall share trading volumes have been in line with our expectations, the commission income generated from it in recent months has been lower because of mix variances.’