Liontrust ups dividend as assets jump 27%

Liontrust ups dividend as assets jump 27%

Liontrust has increased its dividend payouts to shareholders by more than a fifth for the year to March after its assets under management jumped year-on-year.

The FTSE-250 fund house’s yearly results, published today (July 8), showed the fund house’s strong financial year had prompted it to boost its dividend payout to 33 pence per share — 22 per cent more than the 27 pence paid last year.

Liontrust’s Aum stood at £16.1bn as at March 31 — 27 per cent more than the £12.7bn measured last year.

As at June 30, its assets had jumped a further £3bn to £19.3bn.

Investors pumped £2.7bn into Liontrust funds in the 12 months to March, primarily driven by retail investments — both D2C and through advisers. Institutional investors only accounted for £74m of the net inflows.

Some £2.7bn of its increased assets came from the acquisition of Neptune and its global equity team, while £2bn of negative market movements — fuelled by the coronavirus crisis — had chipped away at the fund house’s Aum.

Liontrust reported adjusted profit before tax of £38.1m for the year to March 31, 26 per cent more than the £30m recorded for the previous year, while its revenues jumped a similar amount to £107m.

Chief executive John Ions said: “This has been another very positive year for Liontrust with record sales and strong fund performance.

“It has also been a year in which we have all been challenged above and beyond our normal experiences. Covid-19 and the near shut down of the UK has brought many external influences into play.

“We are not alone in this and in some ways very fortunate that our business has been able to adapt more easily than others to quarantine and remote working.”

Liontrust is set to add a further £6bn to its assets under management with its £75m acquisition of the Architas UK investment business.

Mr Ions told FTAdviser the buyout would bring “greater transparency and efficiency” for financial advisers as the fund house looks to invest in technology which gives IFAs real time data on their clients’ portfolios.

In today’s results, Mr Ions said Liontrust would continue its focus on environmental, social and governance investing, adding it was “committed” to integrating sustainability throughout the business.

He added: “The sustainable investment team has demonstrated for nearly 20 years that its investment process can deliver superior returns over conventional funds.”

Almost a third (£5bn) of Liontrust’s £16bn of assets is in Liontrust’s sustainable funds.

Looking forward, Mr Ions said Liontrust was “well positioned” to navigate and recover from the pandemic.

He said: “The expansion of our investment solutions is continuing through our multi-asset target risk portfolios, sustainable managed and our equity income funds. This is another part of the market where we expect increasing growth in demand among financial advisers.  

“We are also benefiting from the loyalty of clients because of the power of our brand, excellent service and communications, and robust administration.