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Walker Crips plunges 15% on profit alert

Walker Crips plunges 15% on profit alert

Shares in Walker Crips Group (WCB) are coming under intense pressure after the group issued a profits alert.

At 10.45am shares in the private client stockbroker were down 6.5p, or 14.77%, at 38.5p after the private client stockbroker warned profit would be lower than expected due to weak trading volumes in the third quarter in the tough conditions, which resulted in a 9.8% decline in revenue to £3.39 million. 

The group added that it continued to focus on reducing its reliance on volatile commission revenues, which fell by 28.7% to £1.74m (2010: £2.24m) due to more subdued equity markets.

The revenue decline overshadowed strength in the firm's asset management business spearheaded by Jan Luthman (pictured) and Stephen Bailey, which saw assets under management in its core funds increase by 8.1% to £612 million over the quarter.

However, the firm's non-core offshore funds, which are not managed Bailey and Luthman and account for £131 in assets under management, took the strategic decision to move their administration in-house, resulting in assets under management falling from £698 million in the previous quarter to £612 million.

In an accompanying statement the group said: 'Despite the increase in core FUM and related fee income, the reduction in overall FUM and the continuing difficult trading conditions being experienced generally in the financial sector are likely to result in group profitability for the year to 31 March 2012 being lower than expectations.

'However, the WCG board believes that the group's diverse product range continues to underpin its profitable resilience to the current challenging environment.'

The firm stressed there had been no significant changes to the balance sheet since the half year and that it remains in healthy financial position.

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