IFG Group  

James Hay parent says looming buyout has not dented business

James Hay parent says looming buyout has not dented business

IFG Group traded "in line with expectations" in the first three months of the year, its chief executive Kathryn Purves has said.

The company owns two businesses, pension provider James Hay and advice company Saunderson House, and last month it was subject to an acquisition bid by private equity house Epiris.

Ms Purves said James Hay now serves almost 59,000 customers, a year-on-year increase of 0.21 per cent and up 0.14 per cent since the end of 2018.

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Assets under administration at March 31 were £26.1bn, a 2.8 per cent rise when compared with the same time last year and 3.2 per cent higher than at the end of 2018.

In a statement released ahead of the company's annual general meeting, Ms Purves said positive market movements of £600m during the quarter offset the adverse market movements seen in the last quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile the client base of Saunderson House rose by 1.8 per cent during the first three months of the year and 7.7 per cent when compared with March 2018.

Assets under advice as of March 31, 2019 were £5.1bn, a 4.8 per cent increase since the end of 2018 and in line with March 31, 2018.

Ms Purves said: "I am pleased to report that since publication of the scheme document on April 9 2019, in relation to the proposed acquisition of IFG by Epiris, the group has continued to trade in line with expectations and there is no change to outlook.  

"The group remains focused on resolving its legacy issues, however, at this stage there is no further update in relation to the Elysian Fuels matter in James Hay."

Elysian Fuels was sold as a scheme investing in renewable energy projects in the UK and the US, including in 2013 the launch of a bioethanol plant in Grimsby.

About £200m was invested in the scheme - which was marketed as suitable for experienced investors only, with a minimum investment of £50,000.

IFG has been in discussions with HM Revenue & Customs over sanction charges for several years and in March it revealed it had set aside £4.9m to deal with these legacy issues following a "file by file" review.