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How Fleming Family's wealth arm will help it defy industry's woes

How Fleming Family's wealth arm will help it defy industry's woes

Fleming Family & Partners has said it sees little sign of the pressures facing wealth managers easing as it reported a pre-tax profit of £3.2 million, 36% down on last year's figure.

The firm has had a busy year, undergoing two acquisitions, key hires and a programme of change, and as it previously lamented, 2012 turned out to be a 'difficult' year as markets remained volatile.

Versus a pre-tax profit of £5 million for 2011, Fleming Family & Partners chalked up a profit of £3.2 million over the 12 months ended 31 March, while its assets under management slipped slightly from £3.9 billion to £3.7 billion.

The restructure, which involved switching key roles and the closure or sale of loss making offices or businesses, was, however, expected to impact growth over the shorter term.  It was also set against one of the toughest economic and political backdrops seen in years, Fleming's group chief executive officer Mark Davies said.

Pressures

However it is the wealth market that the firm is keeping a close eye on, monitoring its many challenges and the progress within its wealth planning arm.

'The wealth management industry is experiencing  pressures both on revenue and costs and we are not immune,' Davies said.

Changes made at Fleming - the appointment of two client relationship directors in its London Asset Management division and bringing in Ian Marsh as its group head of asset management, taking a minority interest in Asquith & Partners, and the sale of its Russian office - should give it some protection, however.

Davies explained: 'We are well capitalised with a strong financial position. With the changes that have been and are still being made, we believe our specific attributes of a centralised investment process, independence and alignment of interest with our clients, a first class network and focus on relationships augurs well for the long term future of the business.'

Fleming's decision to take an interest in financial planning firm Asquith & Partners should also help it push forward.

The interest, which triggered the start of a joint venture between the firms called FF&P Wealth Planning, gives it the option of acquiring control and so far it has made 'considerable progress' Davies said.

'This business was renamed FF&P Wealth Planning during the year and has made considerable progress, taking on new clients and expanding its team.

'Wealth Planning is also working well with asset management in augmenting the existing client service offering as well as in joint marketing,' the chief executive said.

He added: 'The business incurred a loss for the year, in line with budget, but is expecting to become profitable, based on the current cost base, within the next year,' he added. 

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