Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin took a profit hit in the first half of its financial year despite seeing an increased demand for advice amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a market update for the six months to March the discretionary fund manager and financial adviser reported a 5.1 per cent drop in pre-tax profit to £28.2m, down from £29.7m in the same period the previous year, as £3.6bn worth of funds were wiped amid an "unprecedented fall in markets" due to Covid-19.
Despite this market volatility Brewin Dolphin reported an increased demand for its advice services, as income in its financial planning arm jumped by almost a third to £16.4m - up from £12.6m in the first six months of the previous financial year.
Advisory income also saw a boost of £900,000, which the company attributed to its acquisition of Investec's wealth management business in Ireland which completed in October last year.
In today's update the wealth manager said the majority of the Irish business, now called Brewin Dolphin Capital & Investments (Ireland) Limited, had been integrated with most of the acquired assets and clients migrated onto its systems by mid-April this year.
David Nicol, chief executive of Brewin Dolphin, said the wealth manager had increased its frequency of communication with clients as a result of falling markets and their funds decreasing in value.
Mr Nicol, who is set to retire after eight years at the firm in June, said: "All of our efforts have helped reassure our clients with only a slight increase in clients logging into the client portal during February and March compared to last year.
"With resilient systems and processes we have seen no impact on business continuity and continue to monitor and apply controls to mitigate any incremental risk which may arise as we have moved to a digital/remote business model."
Mr Nicol said the company's advice led services were required more than ever in periods of uncertainty and the business had seen an increased demand for services during the Covid-19 pandemic, which it had been able to deliver remotely.
He added: "[There is a] high level of uncertainty expected for the remainder of the financial year but we are monitoring the Covid-19 impacts to the business and client behaviours so we can adapt and manage our business and operating models appropriately."
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