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'Re-energised' Walker Crips eyes growth despite 39% profit slide

'Re-energised' Walker Crips eyes growth despite 39% profit slide

Following the sale of its asset management business to Liontrust, Walker Crips is setting its sights on growth despite posting a 39.9% slide in pre-exceptional profit before tax.

Over the 12 months to the end of March, Walker Crips' pre-tax profit fell to £1.06 million, down from £1.76 million the year before.

Like a number of investment firms, Walker Crips' has felt the pinch because of the difficult trading environment.  Investors have deleveraged portfolios because of the ongoing eurozone crisis and this has made them reluctant to buy equities.

David Gelber, chairman of Walker Crips, said that the relatively low share volumes had been reflected in the firm's trading performance, however following the disposal of Walker Crips Asset Management to Liontrust for £12 million, the company is now focused on expanding its core investment, wealth and pension business, organically and by acquisition.

Gelber said that bringing over a team of six from Ashcourt Rowan subsidiary Savoy - a deal struck for £425,000 - was part of this plan, however he added that recently appointed chief investment officer (CIO) Mark Rushton had also re-energised its strategy and approach to investment, and that this would help drive forward the business and its proposals for new launches in the discretionary space.

'In just three months he has made progress in redefining the investment processes, proposition and offering to attract more investment advisers, asset gatherers and customers,' Gelber explained.

He added: 'This renewed and more structured focus on revenue growth will complement, and make optimal use of, our existing very efficient administration and settlement teams. Mark is also spearheading the impending launch of discretionary investment portfolio models aimed at building the IFA client access channels and extending the traditional private client base.'

As part of the disposal of Walker Crips Asset Management in April, star fund managers Jan Luthman and Stephen Bailey (pictured) joined Liontrust.  Since the sale, Liontrust has rebranded the top-performing Luthman and Bailey funds to tie them in closely with their existing franchise.

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Profile: The opportunity set that attracted Brett Williams to wealth management

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