BROKER and asset manager Charles Stanley has shrugged off “challenging” economic conditions to drive up profits and funds under management, while being more sanguine about prospects than a year ago.
The group, which employs about 30 staff in Edinburgh where its team manages more than £500 million of funds, yesterday posted a 7 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £9.1m in the year to 31 March, up from £8.5m.
Charles Stanley’s total funds under management throughout the UK climbed by 15 per cent to £17.7 billion.
The company’s contingent in Scotland includes a dozen employees on the newly-launched internet-based Charles Stanley Direct helpdesk.
Sir David Howard, the firm’s chairman, said that the company had turned in a “resilient” performance in the past three years, despite 20 per cent being wiped off profits last year by its £1.9m contribution to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for clients of unrelated failed firms.
“While economic conditions remain challenging, there are hints of recovery, and I therefore look to the year ahead with a touch more optimism than a year ago,” Howard said.
The chairman said a downturn in share trading activity had persisted until December, triggered by “recessionary conditions at home, intense uncertainty in Europe, and looming debt issues in the United States”. However, he added that activity had picked up again in January.
Charles Stanley increased its full-year dividend by 4.4 per cent to 11.75p from 11.25p, after chalking up a final payout of 9p.