Brewin Dolphin profits leap as new advice proposition makes a splash

 
Lucy White
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Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin has seen its share price rise today, after its full-year results revealed business was going swimmingly.

Profits before tax were up 14.8 per cent to £70m, exceeding analysts’ expectations, while assets under management rocketed by 13 per cent to £40.1bn.

Brewin Dolphin also revealed that it was launching two new advice services – WealthPilot for mass market clients, which delivers on-demand advice by phone, Skype or face-to-face, and a separate offering for more sophisticated clients.

“The rate of change in our market environment is accelerating, driven by changing client needs, continued evolution of financial regulation and government policy,” said Nicol.

“Against this backdrop, our advice-led proposition has enduring relevance for customers in uncertain and complex times.”

This could theoretically place the firm in direct competition with the independent advisors who have traditionally been its customers, although the firm has stated that the service will only be offered initially to its own customers who do not already receive advice.

Read more: City watchdog refers investment consultants for a competition investigation in the first decision of its kind

The move comes as Brewin has continued to move away from stockbroking towards discretionary management, where clients hand over a chunk of their money to be taken care of. Its net discretionary fund inflows hit a record of £2.3bn over the last year, according to today's results.

As the full-year dividend increased by 15.4 per cent to 15p, chief executive David Nicol credited the acquisition and integration of Duncan Laurie Asset Management for helping to drive Brewin Dolphin’s growth.

“In addition to profits being slightly ahead of expectations, Brewin has reported strong organic growth as well as hitting 25 per cent profit margins in the fourth quarter,” said Peel Hunt analyst Stuart Duncan. Shares were up 2.15 per cent in late afternoon trading.

Read more: Brewin Dolphin snaps up asset manager Duncan Lawrie for £28m

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