Charles Stanley  

Charles Stanley assets fall 20% in virus crisis

Charles Stanley assets fall 20% in virus crisis

Charles Stanley saw its funds under management take a 20 per cent hit in the first three months of 2020 as a result of the global reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. 

However in a trading update published to the market this morning (April 16) the listed wealth manager confirmed its revenues had in fact increased over the same period as a result of higher fees and commissions. 

In the three months from January to March, the final quarter of the company's financial year, total funds under management decreased by 20.2 per cent to £20.2bn - down from £25.3bn in December last year. 

Charles Stanley attributed the drop to the "tumultuous impact" on global markets of the coronavirus outbreak, with funds under management dropping by 13.4 per cent in March alone when Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic. 

But the wealth manager said despite this "steep decline", group revenues were still higher than those seen in the same three months last year - rising by 12.6 per cent from £39.8m to £44.8m. 

This was as a result of higher fees and commissions which offset the reduced funds under management and which followed a repricing exercise by the company last year.   

Paul Abberley, chief executive at Charles Stanley, said: "Current trading is challenging, and at this exceptional time, it is difficult to predict what the outcome for the 2021 financial year might be.

"However, the group has a very strong balance sheet with significant capital resources and no borrowings and this places us in a very robust position to navigate the current situation and emerge strongly." 

In May 2019, Charles Stanley announced it was embarking on an extensive restructuring, with the aim of cutting costs and increasing its profit margin.

Whilst the wealth manager said in today's update it was difficult to predict what the impact of the pandemic might be on its new financial year, it warned figures were expected to be "far less favourable" in comparison to the year just ended. 

The company pointed to the "sharp decline" in market values and cuts to interest rates since February, but said commission income was currently "holding up well" as greater market volatility had lead to more trading.

Mr Abberley added: "The response across the group has been exemplary. I would especially like to mention our IT department, whose hard work has kept the firm fully operational throughout."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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