Close Brothers’ funds business experienced a step change 25% increase in operating profit to £11.4 million over the six months to the end of January.
‘All our channels performed well, delivering positive net flows of £573 million,’ the business said in a statement. The operating margin climbed from 18% to 20% as earlier hires and acquisitions began to feed through to the bottom line.
The company’s staff expenses climbed from 54% of income to 57% however, ‘reflecting new hires and an increase in variable compensation in the period’.
The company has quietly reconfigured its asset management division over the past 18 months, selling OLIM Investment Management and buying regional advisers EOS Wealth Management and Adrian Smith & Partners.
It has also hired a series of senior staff from rivals and targeted gaps in its national network.
‘We are pleased with our performance and progress in the first half, delivering higher profit while staying true to our client and customer focused model, and maintaining our prudent and disciplined approach,’ said chief executive Preben Prebensen.
‘All our businesses have achieved a good performance year to date, and we remain well positioned for the full year.’
At the group level the company reported a 6% increase in operating profit to £142 million. The business upped its interim dividend 5% to 21p per share.