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Business News

Rathbones planning to grow as its funds weather storms


Wealth manager Rathbone Brothers has recruited the former boss of Williams de Broë, Philip Howell, as deputy chief executive in a signal that it continues to have ambitious growth plans.

The Mayfair-based firm said assets under management rose by 13% to £18 billion last year with new money accounting for 6% of that and rising markets the rest. By the end of January, as share prices soared, that total had risen to £18.7 billion.

Chief executive Andy Pomfret, who says he has no plans to step down, is not prepared to gaze into his crystal ball regarding where stock markets might end the year.

“I’ve no idea where the FTSE 100 might end up,” he admitted. “I expect it’s going to be a very volatile market all year. Governments in the US, UK and eurozone are battling with difficult economic and financial conditions. But the markets have been incredibly resilient in the first six weeks of the year.”

Despite the rise in funds under management Rathbone’s pre-tax profits were flat at £38.8 million as costs rose through recruiting more investment managers and a number of acquisitions. The dividend for the year rises 1p to 47p a share.

Pomfret said that current market conditions, where private clients were finding it increasingly hard to earn income, has seen a number of them start to eat into their capital to maintain their lifestyles.