Charles Stanley bullish as it returns to pre-crash levels

STOCKBROKER Charles Stanley yesterday posted a 6.8 per cent increase in its first-half pre-tax profit and gave a bullish outlook for the rest of the year.<br /><br />The independent broker said it was back to &ldquo;pre-Lehman Brothers&rdquo; levels of performance, driven by an increase in income from its Private Client division and the benefit of recent acquisitions.<br /><br />Charles Stanley reported pre-tax profit of &pound;5.49m on revenues 14.1 per cent higher at &pound;55.9m. The firm said that funds under management or administration stood at &pound;11.6bn, up 15 per cent year-on-year.<br /><br />Chairman Sir David Howard said that his outlook for the next six months was bullish &ndash; reflected by the firm&rsquo;s decision to increase the interim dividend by 4.8 per cent to 2.2p &ndash; but warned that 2010 would be an uncertain year.<br /><br />&ldquo;All we can do is keep things shipshape, hold on to the cash and keep our eyes open for attractive acquisitions,&rdquo; Howard said. He added that quantitative easing (QE) has increased liquidity and that a sense of momentum also seemed to be underpinning hopes for the recovery. He said: &ldquo;One doesn&rsquo;t want to say that the City is over the worst, while the rest of the country still struggles. But here is a sense that we have turned a corner.&rdquo;