Martin Currie profits slump 36%

EDINBURGH fund management boutique Martin Currie saw its profits plunge by more than a third last year, despite its assets under management increasing by almost a fifth.

Pre-tax profits fell 36.2 per cent in 2009 to 20.8 million from 32.6m a year earlier, on turnover down 19.5 per cent at 70.3m – in what chairman Malcolm Gourlay said had been a commendable result.

"The global financial crisis reached its peak in late-2008… however, the lagging effect of falling asset values on revenues meant that our business felt the impact of that crisis most keenly in 2009," he said. "Against this backdrop, a fall in adjusted profit … represented a commendable result and one that was considerably better than might have been expected a year ago."

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The pay of the highest-paid director fell 63.7 per cent to 241,936. Two years ago it was 1.66m. The firm declined to disclose the director's identity, but said it was not chief executive Willie Watt.

Chief financial officer Ralph Campbell said the group had performed well against its peers. A basket of listed asset managers – Schroders, Henderson, F&C, Gartmore and Man Group – saw profits tumble 41 per cent in 2009.

Funds under management at Martin Currie rose 19.2 per cent to 11.8 billion on the back of it winning ten new clients and rising stock markets.

"Prudent balance-sheet management", meanwhile, saw the group cut its net debt by more than half – to 20m from 41m – giving it a capital position of more than 300 per cent of industry requirements.