The Mortgage Advice Bureau is looking to build on a strong 2015 by seeking “targeted investment opportunities” this year.
Its final results for the year ended 31 December revealed revenue up by a third to £75.5m - from £56.6m in 2014 - while the adjusted profit before tax rose 31 per cent to £10.4m - from £8m the previous year.
The statement explained the intermediary business continues to look for ways to build upon the group’s existing expertise and to enhance distribution, “with technology and brand expected to be major influencing factors on the intermediary sector over the coming years”.
The board believes it is ideally placed to capitalise on both of these, strengthening MAB’s position as an intermediary brand and specialist appointed representative network.
Adviser numbers were up by a quarter to 790 at the end of the year - from 634 at the same point in 2014 - while the average number of advisers in 2015 rose by just under a quarter to 720 - from 581.
Since then, adviser numbers have increased by a further 54 to 844 as at 18 March, due to new appointed representative recruitment this year.
Gross profit margin was maintained at 24.2 per cent - compared with 24.1 per cent in 2014 - with the group receiving a slightly reduced margin as existing ARs grow revenue organically through increasing their advisers.
“In 2015, MAB continued to attract some larger ARs, which has driven strong growth in adviser numbers and revenue,” read the results. “These larger new ARs, however, typically join the group on lower than average margins due to their existing scale.”
Peter Brodnicki, chief executive of MAB, said he expects to see some erosion of the gross profit margin going forward, due to both the continued growth of the existing AR business and the acquisition of new larger ARs.
Mr Brodnicki said MAB expects to achieve a minimum of 15 per cent compound annual growth in adviser numbers over the next few years.
The results also detailed the sale of MAB’s 49 per cent stake in Capital Private Finance.
In 2011, MAB and Countrywide entered into a five year joint venture with the firm, with the latter holding the remaining 51 per cent. Countrywide has now exercised its call option with the price for MAB’s stake agreed at £2.7m.
Completion is anticipated early in the second half of this year, after which time MAB will cease to receive its share of profit from CPF, but will also save circa £100,000 of overhead cost per annum.