Inflows up at Henderson as assets rocket

ANGLO-AUSTRALIAN fund manager Henderson said its profits leapt 37 per cent last year, despite a £7.6m charge.

Underlying profit before tax increased to £100.7m, up from £73.7m a year earlier, at the firm led by chief executive Andrew Formica.

Henderson was forced to pay a £7.6m charge into the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as a result of the collapse of Keydata, taking the gloss off its results. The charge incurred by the asset manager is the biggest one to be revealed by a fund manager so far.

Net inflows at the group jumped from £700m to £2bn last year, with assets under management rising from £58.1bn to £61.6bn, helping to boost the rise in profit. The firm’s board said it would increase its final year dividend as a result of the strong figures to 4.65p, up from 4.25p.

Meanwhile, Henderson’s acquisition target Gartmore leaked more than £790m in assets over the first seven weeks of this year.

Investors in the British asset manager pulled the cash despite Henderson having signed up Gartmore managers running 84 per cent of funds. Assets under management at the firm plummeted by £7bn over the year after the departure of two of its stars – Roger Guy and Guillaume Rambourg.

Oriel Securities analyst Keith Baird remained upbeat about the merger, which is set to be tied up by April.

He said: “I was in the majority who thought it [Gartmore] was possibly undergoing a death spiral, which is what you get in these situations where there’s been an upheaval and people leave. The whole Roger Guy fiasco was a massive own goal, but it did only affect one deck of the ship and the rest of it seems to be functioning well enough.”