Wealth firm Brewin Dolphin firing on all cylinders

Brewin Dolphin, the wealth manager that has just snapped up private client business Duncan Lawrie Asset Management (DLAM) for £28 million, is not ruling out further acquisitions.

'If an acquisition made sense to do, we would do it', said Brewin Dolphin chief executive David Nicol. Picture: Contributed

However, chief executive David Nicol, unveiling strong interim profits, said the group remained primarily an “organic growth story” benefiting from a “favourable market environment”.

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His comments came as the firm revealed that its underlying pre-tax profits lifted 14 per cent to £32.4m and total funds under management rose 6.8 per cent to £37.8 billion in the six months to end-March.

Nicol said: “Organic growth is responsible for the bulk of our activity, but if something similar [to DLAM] came up, people know who we are, what we are about. If an acquisition made sense to do, we would do it.”

Brewin said the DLAM deal closed last week, and its team had moved across to the group’s offices in London and Bristol.

Brewin also employs about 200 in Edinburgh, and another 50 or so across offices in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. Discretionary funds under management rose 9.4 per cent in the latest period to £31.5bn, while the group’s profit margin rose to 22 per cent from 20.7 per cent.

Nicol said: “The group has had a successful first half of 2017 in a period with a favourable market environment. The delivery against our growth strategy has contributed to an excellent financial performance.

“The strength of our business and confidence in our strategy helped us in the successful acquisition of DLAM during the period, which has been financed by surplus capital reserves and cements our position as a market leading discretionary wealth manager.”

Among positive trends in the industry, Nicol added, was the shake-up in the pensions industry including new annuity freedoms, auto-enrolment and the switch from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes.

“There have been a lot of changes in the pensions sector over the last few years, and we at Brewin can help people transfer themselves from where they are to where they want to be,” he said.

Nicol, unveiling a 10 per cent rise in the interim dividend to 4.25p, said Scotland remained a strong part of the business and would remain so whether there was a second independence referendum or not.