Star fund manager Buxton pulls in £250m since joining Old Mutual

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The Independent Online

Old Mutual yesterday said it had seen inflows of £250m into one of its flagship funds since star manager Richard Buxton joined the company in June.

The FTSE 100 conglomerate poached Mr Buxton from Schroders earlier this year and it appears the move has paid off with clients piling into his UK Alpha Fund.

"People are starting to take money from under their mattresses and investing again," the chief executive, Julian Roberts, said. "We've been pleased with the performance of our fund-management business and it's good to have Richard at Old Mutual."

The company made a pre-tax profit of £805m during the first half of the year compared to £728m in 2012, helped by revenues of £9.6bn.

Shares in the group rose more than 5 per cent as it raised its interim dividend by 20 per cent to 2.1p – a far cry from 2009 when it was forced to scrap its dividend after an overzealous acquisition spree in the lead up to the financial crisis.

Over the past few years, Old Mutual has sold businesses such as its US life unit and looked to build in emerging markets such as Africa where it hopes to tap into tap into a growing middle class, which has become richer as demand for the continent's natural resources grows across the world.

Mr Roberts said that the group had spent part of the 5bn rand (£329m) it had set aside to buy into financial-services providers in Africa during the first half.

The group made acquisitions in Ghana and Mozambique and remains on the hunt for more.

"We have taken significant steps in our plans to expand into the African markets that we have identified as key to our success," Mr Roberts added.

"We are focused on delivering our strategy and maintaining our financial discipline.