Charles Stanley stock slumps

SHARES in stockbroker Charles Stanley plunged nearly nine per cent yesterday after it said interim profits had fallen.

The firm said “increasingly strong macro economic headwinds” meant commission levels and corporate finance fees at its securities division were down for the six months to 30 September.

Its investment management fees and financial services revenues have risen, however, meaning total sales are expected to be on the same level as the same period last year.

Some areas of its operating costs have been reduced but profits will be hit by rises in the price of fixed costs, it added.

Earlier this summer Charles Stanley was hit with a £2.6m levy from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as the scheme sought to recover losses to investors incurred from the failure of wealth managers, such as Keydata.

It prompted Sir David Howard, chairman of the broker, to criticise the “unfairness” of the scheme and to call for better regulation of misbehaving firms and their products.

Yesterday, in its pre-close trading statement, Charles Stanley said it still hoped to expand despite concern over its costs.

“Whilst it is difficult in these market conditions to see very far ahead, the group continues to see the opportunity for growth year on year.”

Charles Stanley shares closed down 23.38p – 8.7 per cent lower – at 245p last night.