Investec sell-off helps company focus on future

 
Michael Bow
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ANGLO-South African finance group Investec yesterday said it was in the best shape for a decade, after clearing the decks of old businesses and boosting performance at its money management arms.

The company, listed in London and Johannesburg, said the reduction of its UK and Irish mortgage business and banking venture in Australia was helping the group focus on its core divisions.

The company has slowly been winding down its UK legacy portfolio and last year accelerated the disposals to cut the size of the book from £3.4bn to £700m.

“We set about a process of disposing those three businesses and we’re starting to see the benefits now, managing director Bernard Kantor said.

“The legacy book has come down since we started and it will take another three to four years to work itself through to run-off.”

The company runs wealth management, fund management and corporate banking arms and the divisions fired on all cylinders during the period ending March.

Total net inflows in its asset management and wealth division came to £5.8bn, taking assets under management to £124.1bn. Total full year profits for the entire business rose 10.2 per cent overall.

“The ongoing business is looking really good. Asset management has bolstered the business and we are increasing the platforms in the areas we operate in,” Kantor added.

• South Africa’s Reserve Bank left interest rates unchanged yesterday at 5.75 per cent, as expected by markets. But governor Lesetja Kganyago said the “deteriorating inflation outlook” meant the rate “cannot be maintained indefinitely”.