Rathbones on acquisition hunt as volatile markets hit assets

Business-Corporate-Board-Room-Meeting-Hire-Hiring-700x450.jpgRathbones is on the hunt for acquisitions, as volatile markets have hit inflows and commission income.

The company’s first quarter results, published today, show that total assets rose from £29.2bn at the end of last year to £29.3bn at the end of the first quarter 2016.

Mark Nicholls, chairman of Rathbone, says the 2.4 per cent drop in the FTSE 100 across the period has “presented challenges that are reflected both in commission income and new business inflows”.

He adds that the company “remains alert to acquisition opportunities that may arise as a consequence of these market conditions”.

Rathbones saw net organic growth of assets drop from 3.6 per cent in the first quarter last year to 1.5 per cent this year. This growth was comprised of £482m of gross inflows and £382m of gross outflows, leading to net organic growth of £100m for the quarter. However, investment performance wiped £210m off funds, compared to adding £1.06bn in the same period last year.

Rathbones saw commission income fall by almost a third too, down to £9.8m from £14.4m last year. The drop was blamed on lower trading volumes and settlement values, as well as a continued shift to a fee-based model. Fee income rose by 8.3 per cent during the period.

Assets under management at the Rathbones Unit Trust Management business rose 3.2 per cent to £3.2bn for the period, up on £3.1bn at the end of 2015.

The business saw £363m of inflows, countered by £133m of outflows and £35m losses from investment performance.

As part of its expansion plans, the firm has developed the Rathbone Private Office, appointing Credit Suisse as an external asset manager for the division.

The move will see the private office offer wealth advisory services, specialist private banking products, services and lending solutions, alongside the existing Rathbone offerings.