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WH Ireland wealth arm increases losses after acquisition

WH Ireland wealth arm increases losses after acquisition

WH Ireland’s wealth management arm saw its losses increase in the past year despite a rise in revenue.

The division lost £2mn in the year to March 31, compared with a loss of £887,000 in the previous year, according to a statement to the stock exchange released yesterday (July 27).

The group’s wealth management arm saw revenue rise from £13.3mn to £15.8mn, which included the first full year of contributions from Harpsden Wealth Management, which it bought in 2020 for £7.8mn.

Fee income now represents 85 per cent of total wealth management income, up from 76 per cent last year.

Direct costs in the 2022 financial year rose from £10.3mn to £13mn, and underlying pre-tax losses widened from £79,000 to £248,000.

The total assets under management for the division remained flat at £1.6bn, and discretionary managed assets rose 6 per cent to £1bn. 

The group saw a slight drop in pre-tax profit overall, recording £1.4mn, with revenue rising 11 per cent to £32mn and underlying earnings per share dropped from 2.95p to 2.34p. 

Chief executive officer of WH Ireland, Philip Wale, said the economic and global environment is as volatile and testing as any he has experienced in his career.

“We therefore remain cautious of the very short-term, but remain confident that we are ready to take advantage of conditions when they improve given our strengthened and improving platform across both divisions.”

Last year, the company’s outgoing wealth management boss Steve Ford said he planned to grow the unit to £3bn using a combination of acquisitions and an increased focus on financial planning

However, Ford stepped down from the company to relocate his family to Devon, and Michael Bishop was appointed in his place in January. 

At the time of his appointment, Bishop said there remains much work to do as the company continues to focus on sustainable growth and profitability. 

“[We will look to] exceed our current targets, supported by a strengthened financial position to underpin organic and acquisition investment.  

"There is an exciting opportunity to continue the development of a genuinely differentiated wealth management business at WH Ireland and I am looking forward to working with the team to do just that."

sally.hickey@ft.com