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Schroders, one of the last remaining independent British merchant banks, delivered record half-year profits, but Win Bischoff (right) chairman, warned that conditions could become more uncertain. Pre-tax profits soared from pounds 85.6m to pounds 116m in the first half of the year. The bank blamed elections in both the UK and US for its caution, but it is still raising its interim dividend by a third to 6p, at the top end of forecasts. The investment banking arm saw profits rise to pounds 50.7m from pounds 41.7m and Schroders said it had gained several prominent new clients.