Adviser group goes to market

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The Independent Online
INDEPENDENT financial advisers increased their market share from 43 per cent to 47 per cent in the first quarter of the year, according to unpublished research. Now investors will be able to put their money on the performance of independent advisers in the financial services stakes when DBS Management, a Huddersfield-based group which acts as an umbrella for 1,400 independent financial advisers throughout the UK, joins the new Alternative Investment Market next month.

Its shares have been traded on a matched bargain basis since 1986 and have risen from a starting price of 55p to the current level of about 280p, which values the company at just under pounds 10m. In the year to March 1995, turnover grew by 10 per cent to pounds 99m, although profit before tax and exceptional items fell 15 per cent to pounds 2.28m, reflecting rising costs and the general uncertainty which has affected demand for personal pensions, unit and investment trusts and PEPs over the past year.

Earnings per share were 48p, which would come down to 37.1p after allowing for the creation of a further 1.3 million shares when existing share options are exercised over the next three years. Fully diluted, the dividend is 12p.

The exceptional items include pounds 1.6m that was written off in 1993-94 to meet the group's remaining liabilities on its involvement in home- income plans - the ill-fated attempts to provide income to hard-pressed home owners funded out of the equity in their homes. That liability has now been cleared, says chairman Ken Davy.

There are about 300 shareholders at present, including the directors, who have just under half the shares, member IFAs, and private investors.

One director with about 12 per cent of the shares is retiring and intends to supply the market with stock, and some other founder shareholders may take profits. Godfrey Jillings, the former chief executive of Fimbra, is a non-executive director.