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Close Bros hails 'solid' Q3, upbeat over full year

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 22 May 2019

(Sharecast News) - Merchanting banking group Close Brothers said on Wednesday that it had delivered a "solid" third-quarter performance as it expressed confidence over the full year.
In an update for the period from 1 February to 30 April, the company said its banking division performed as expected in current market conditions, while its market-facing businesses continued to experience lower activity levels.

In banking, it remains focused on maintaining margins and prudent underwriting, and continuing to invest in the businesses "for the long term".

The loan book rose 1.5% during the quarter to £7.5bn, driven by commercial and property, and is up 3.6% in the year to date.

Meanwhile, the bad debt ratio has remained low, with continued "strong" credit performance across the business, and the net interest margin year-to-date has remained broadly in line with 2018.

In the asset management business, although client activity remained subdued in Q3, managed assets increased to £10.9bn from £10.3bn, underpinned by positive market movements and continued net inflows. Total client assets rose to £12.5bn from £12bn.

Close Bros said its securities division, Winterflood, continues to focus on "maximising its trading opportunities in all market conditions". Although trading volumes remained low, the division delivered solid profitability in the quarter, performing broadly in line with the first half.

"We expect a solid result for the full financial year," it said.

At 0815 BST, the shares were down 0.5% at 1,487p.

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