Close Brothers makes 'encouraging start' to FY
Merchant banking group Close Brothers said on Thursday that it had made "an encouraging start to the year", with a strong performance in its banking unit and "good growth momentum" at Close Brothers Asset Management.
Close Brothers stated that in banking, its loan book had increased 2.4% in the three months ended 13 October to £8.6bn, driven by improved utilisation in invoice finance and good demand in its asset and motor finance businesses.
The FTSE 250-listed firm also noted that its property book remained stable from 31 July and the credit performance of its loan book as a whole remained "strong".
Close Brothers also said its Close Brothers Asset Management division had seen "good growth momentum", with the unit benefiting from strong net inflows and rising markets in the period as it achieved annualised net inflows of 8% and increased managed assets to £16.0bn. Total client assets grew to £17.4bn.
However, Close Brothers cautioned that its Winterflood arm had experienced a "further moderation" of its trading performance since the end of 2021, with income in the first quarter reverting to close to pre-Covid-19 levels.
Looking forward, Close Brothers said: "While the economic trajectory remains uncertain, we have made an encouraging start to the year.
"We are well positioned to maximise opportunities in the current environment and remain confident in the long-term growth prospects of our banking businesses."
Separately, Close Brothers revealed that Martin Andrew had stood down from his role as chief executive of Close Brothers Asset Management after 13 years. He will remain with the company until the spring of 2022 to ensure a smooth succession.
As of 0900 GMT, Close Brothers shares were up 1.0% at 1,409.0p.