Rathbones eyes advice expansion and platform launch

Rathbones eyes advice expansion and platform launch

Rathbones is looking to expand its adviser network and its in-house financial planning arm as it looks to capitalise on the increasing demand and need for financial advice.

In its half-yearly trading update, published yesterday (July 29), the investment firm said financial advice was “even more important” during times of market turbulence and that Rathbones placed “considerable importance” on the financial advice market.

Rathbones has increased the number of advisers in its IFA network — Vision Independent Financial Planning — from 124 last year to 131 as at June 30, and the firm seeks to recruit about 10 additional IFAs to the network per year.

There are also growth plans for its in-house advice service, Rathbones Financial Planning. It currently has 21 advisers, up from 19 last year, but Rathbones said it would “continue to invest in this area”.

Today’s results also unveiled plans to launch a digital platform for clients and advisers.

The platform, named MyRathbones, is designed to increase the digital aspects — such as online reporting and secure messaging — through a portal and app, and will be expanded over time.

Rathbones reported it had seen a greater growth in the number of adviser relationships since it developed a more efficient onboarding process, including support with due diligence, risk mapping and investment governance.

In the half-yearly update, the firm said it had onboarded 19 adviser firms during the first six months of the year, which Rathbones said was a “greater growth” than before.

Rathbones revealed last October it had ambitious growth plans, looking to be part of the consolidation gripping the wealth management market and planning to build a “digital journey” for advisers.

In yesterday's results, the firm said it had added 11 investment professionals in the first half of 2020 and expected this rate to continue in the latter half of the year, while it plans to recruit 10 graduates into its academy.

The results show Rathbones’ funds under management and administration reached £49.4bn as at June 30, down 2 per cent from the £50.4bn recorded at the end of 2019 and roughly level with the same time last year.

Investors pumped £1.3bn into Rathbones in the first six months of the year, more than double the £500m for the same period in 2019, primarily funnelled into its investment management arm.

Rathbones reported profit before tax of £27.3m — 36 per cent more than last year — while its operating income crept up from £173m to £179m year-on-year.

Negative market movements hurt the investment management assets to the tune of £2.4bn, while its unit trusts bucked the coronavirus crisis to see £51bn of positive market performance.

The results also showed Rathbones maintained its interim dividend payout at 25p per share, which it said reflected its “confidence in [its] medium-term prospects” and the “strength of [its] balance sheet”.

Paul Stockton, chief executive, said: “Our strong first half performance is testament to the strength of our brand, our market position and our people.

“While we expect investment markets to remain volatile and interest rates to remain lower for some time to come, our balance sheet is robust with a strong capital position.