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Martin Currie eyes US growth as losses narrow to £1.6 million

Martin Currie eyes US growth as losses narrow to £1.6 million

Asset manager Martin Currie has reported a pre-tax loss of  £1.6 million for 2013, as revenues grew 50% after a disastrous 2012.

The group described its £1.6 million loss over 2013 as a 'considerable improvement' on the £15.6 million loss it posted in 2012, when it was fined over unlisted Chinese investments.

Martin Currie's operating margin staged an impressive recovery from -29% to +8% over the 12 month period - although the group noted that 8% remains below the industry average for 2013 and therefore shows the 'profitability growth opportunity' for the business as it recovers.

Revenue increased by approximately 50% year-on-year to £49.6 million before exceptional costs and share-based payments. The group posted an adjusted pre-tax profit of £4.8 million on ordinary activities, once share-based payments and exceptional costs were taken out, up by £14.1 million in 2012.

Outflows also fell by 53% year-on-year, the company said, while assets under management increased by £819 million to £5.3 billion. 

As the Scottish referendum nears, the group shrugged off any potential fallout. It stressed that although its headquarters are in Edinburgh, the majority of its assets and clients come from outside of Scotland. 

'Regardless of any constitutional change which may take place in Scotland, we are well positioned to be able to adapt and our main priority remains to continue to serve our clients globally,' the group noted.

In 2012 Martin Currie was fined a total of £8.6 million by UK and US regulators for conflicts of interest relating to three unlisted China investments.

Chairman Willie Watt (pictured), said the firm's 2013 performance should be measured against 'a backdrop of considerable change' in which Europe, the US and Japan outperformed, but emerging markets were affected by concerns over reduced liquidity from the US.

'The resulting volatility, which saw emerging market stocks fall by 17% in the space of six weeks, was obviously a real challenge,' he explained.

The firm is now looking to strengthen its offering in North America, and has hired Tom Madsen, former global head of equities at UBS, as its non-executive director.

'With this impressive background, his advice and guidance will be invaluable as we seek to reassert our presence in North America with our reinvigorated US sales and client service team,' DeMartini said, adding that Ranjit Sufi was also appointed last year as head of the US office.

The group also noted that 70% of staff hold equity in the company.

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