Charles Stanley  

Charles Stanley swings back into the black

Charles Stanley swings back into the black

Charles Stanley has returned to profit after two years of being loss-making.

The wealth manager made a profit of £8.8m in the year ending March 2017, compared to a loss of £0.3m the previous year and a loss of £6.1m the year before that.

Charles Stanley’s return to profit follows a strategic review which has delivered governance changes as well as better cost control and a new remuneration policy.

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Paul Abberley, the company’s chief executive, said: “[The return to profitability] was aided by strong financial markets but driven primarily by the transformation implemented over the past two years.

“The group is streamlined, focused and positioned to deliver profitably the wealth management services and products sought and needed by UK clients.

“A strong cost control culture was evident across all units and each of our four client-facing divisions delivered positive underlying momentum.”

Charles Stanley has said its remuneration structures are now better aligned with the strategy of the business and better regulatory outcomes.

Meanwhile the governance changes have led to more senior managers joining the executive committee which develops strategy and manages the business.

Charles Stanley saw its revenues remain the same as in 2016, at £141.6m.

Meanwhile funds under management and administration were up 17.1 per cent to £24bn.

With the sale of its pension business EBS Management to the Embark Group earlier this month Charles Stanley said it has now disposed of all “non-core activities”.

Mr Abberley said: “The benefits of the strategy have started to crystallise and we remain confident that this momentum will be maintained.

“Recourse to technology in divisions such as Charles Stanley Direct allows the group to serve a broader range of client needs, often at an earlier stage in our clients’ lifetime financial journeys.

“While profound digital disruption is not yet on the horizon, it is important to ensure that our technology platforms permit a timely and flexible response to evolving client needs.

“We intend to foster such preparedness while continuing to provide first class advice to our clients.”

Charles Stanley said it has also restructured its financial planning division and put operating processes in place.

Meanwhile the asset management arm has seen its product refreshed with IFAs and smaller clients in mind.

Stuart Duncan, an analyst with Peel Hunt, said: “Today’s results were better than expected, although profitability remains at depressed levels.

“The investment case remains the same – now that the remuneration plans have been finalised and implemented, the focus is now very much on stimulating growth and delivering 15 per cent operating margins.”

damian.fantato@ft.com