Alliance Trust platform jumps back into the black

Alliance Trust Savings made its first full year profit for eight years and grew assets under administration by 33 per cent to £5.4bn after it refocused its offering in a bid to bring in more advised business.

In 2012 the previous direct-only platform revealed it would be targeting advised business, while in February of last year bosses said the first post-2012 quarter was already set to double the previous year’s assets inflow total.

Despite a boom in business that was profitable in the final quarter, in 2012 as a whole the platform made a loss of £400,000.

Article continues after advert

Katherine Garrett-Cox, chief executive of Alliance Trust, said Alliance Trust Savings “is now profitable on an ongoing basis and will continue to benefit from changes brought about by the Retail Distribution Review”.

At the turn of this year Alliance Trust Savings announced a revamp of its advised pricing that will see fees hiked by as much as 87.5 per cent for some clients in a move to flat charges that has seen initial administration costs rise but a number of supplementary dealing charges removed.

The platform has almost doubled its annual administration fee to £75 from £40 for an Isa/investment dealing account and from £135 to £155 from £135 excluding VAT for its self-invested pension wrapper with effect from 1 February.

Alliance Trust overall delivered a net asset value total return of 18.4 per cent for 2013 and total shareholder return of 22.7 per cent.

Alliance Trust Investments increased assets under management by 16 per cent in a period which saw the closing of two non-core funds and completion of the rebranding of the Sustainable and Responsible Investment funds as the Alliance Trust Sustainable Future funds.

Ms Garrett-Cox said:“After five years of hard work and significant change at Alliance Trust, this year we have started to reap the rewards of that change.

“The 12.5 per cent increase to the dividend this year has been driven by rising income from all parts of the investment portfolio, including increased exposure to equities, income from our holding in the Monthly Income Bond fund and a doubling of the royalty income from our legacy mineral rights in North America.

“We know that we cannot afford to stand still, as change, be it regulatory, political or business-related, is a critical part of the world in which we operate.

“However, we have the people, the systems and a clear strategy in place to be able to recognise and exploit the investment opportunities that may arise, which will allow us to continue to build a dynamic and successful business for our shareholders.”