Saturday 23 November 2019

Investors cool on IFG as assets dip

Kathryn Purves, CEO of IFG
Kathryn Purves, CEO of IFG
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

An upbeat assessment from new IFG chief executive Kathryn Purves ahead of the financial services group's annual general meeting did little to assuage investors, as the amount of assets under administration in the company's first quarter slipped.

IFG, which last month overhauled its executive positions after it pulled any plans to sell its UK-based Saunderson House wealth-management business, said that the total assets under administration at the group fell slightly - to £30.5bn (€34.9bn), compared to the end of December.

It said adverse market movements had offset net inflows. But the figure was still 8.9pc higher compared to the end of March last year.

However, IFG said that group profitability in the first quarter was "materially ahead" of the figure in the first three months of 2017.

It added that the abandoned sales process for Saunderson House had not had a material effect on new client wins, "although some clients deferred making new investments".

"We may see some knock-on impact on the coming months as the creation of a new client pipeline is likely to have been affected to some extent," it warned.

"However, clarity brought about by the decision not to proceed with the sales process will remove uncertainty for both new and existing clients."

Ms Purves said that IFG had a "clear focus on addressing the legacy issues within the business and delivering value to shareholders".

"We are reviewing how best to deliver this and I look forward to updating the market in due course," she said.

So-called assets under advice at Saunderson House at the end of March totalled £5.1bn (€5.8bn) - unchanged since the end of December, but up 8pc compared to a year earlier.

At its James Hay business in the UK, which administers self-invested personal pensions, the pace of new client additions in the first quarter of 2018 slowed both on a consecutive, and year-on-year basis. IFG said that reflected the performance of the wider platform market.

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