It was a tale of two brokers as full-year profits rose strongly at Brewin Dolphin, a private client one, but dropped at the corporate Numis.
Brewin's chairman, Jamie Matheson, was cautiously optimistic. He said: "Equity markets have remained remarkably resilient, and since the summer there have been signs that our clients have started buying more shares, although volumes have not got back to their historically high levels."
Its underlying profits rose by 8.3 per cent to £42.9m in the year to September, while funds under management increased 8 per cent to £25.9bn.
Mr Matheson said he was particularly pleased by the 17 per cent rise in discretionary funds under management to £18.2bn which, because they are charged on fees rather than commissions, are a much better source of long-term income. The full-year dividend has been "tickled up" by 0.05p to 7.15p a share.
At Numis, profits fell 13 per cent to £7.7m on revenues down 8 per cent at £50.1m.
Oliver Hemsley, its chief executive, said Numis would continue cutting costs, with another 16 staff losing their jobs in the last year to take the total down to 173.
Numis had "an encouraging start" to the new financial year and believed it would benefit from more companies seeking non-bank funding. The company's dividend is unchanged at 8p a share.
Numis also published research it conducted with the London Stock Exchange showing there is growing enthusiasm for the Government to encourage retail investment in small and mid-cap companies.