Liontrust sees 92 per cent profit plunge

FUND manager Liontrust Asset Management reported a 92 per cent slump in pre-tax profits in the first half as it continued to restructure following the loss of key fund managers.<br /><br />The slide to just &pound;0.5m in the six months to September 30 compared with more than &pound;6m in profits during the same period last year.<br /><br />Funds under management crashed to &pound;1.3bn compared to &pound;3.9bn the year before. This fuelled a &pound;1.6m drop in performance fees to &pound;2.2m during the same period.<br /><br />Liontrust has been coping with the departure of star fund managers Jeremy Lang and William Pattisson, who ran most of its assets. <br /><br />The move was blamed for a 25 per cent drop in pre-tax profit last year and also ended Liontrust&rsquo;s talks with prospective merger partners. <br /><br />Bernard Asher, outgoing non-executive chairman of Liontrust, said yesterday executive directors would face a salary freeze and will not receive a bonus following the drop in profits.<br /><br />Chief executive Nigel Legge said the group was in the process of &ldquo;rebuilding&rdquo;.<br /><br />&ldquo;We have no debt and hold net cash and financial assets of over &pound;20m,&rdquo; he said. <br /><br />&ldquo;This gives us the resources to continue expanding and diversifying our fund management teams into new asset classes while maintaining our focus on having strong investment processes.&rdquo;<br /><br />He said the group planned to launch a number of funds over the next few months including for the fixed income and global equities teams.<br /><br />Asher is to be replaced by former Gartmore managing director Adrian Collins from 1 January.<br /><br />Broker Altium Securities said it was reducing its target price &ldquo;pending positive news on fund flows&rdquo;.