3 December 2014
WH Ireland Group Plc
(“WH Ireland” or the “Company”)
WH Ireland Group PLC, the financial services group that provides corporate broking and private wealth management services, today issues a trading update for its financial year ended 30 November, 2014.
W H Ireland has undergone significant change during 2014 in order to create a more stable and robust structure from which it can progress with confidence to achieve its growth ambitions for 2015 and beyond. Progress has been made in growing like for like assets under management, increasing the number of corporate clients, completing a major management and business reorganisation whilst continuing to invest in people and systems.
Whilst the Group’s underlying trading performance has improved slightly on last year, the Board now expects adjusted operating profits to be below its previous expectations. This has been due to a decline in dealing commission revenue in the last quarter in the Private Wealth Management division in common with others in the industry, and delays to transactions being completed in the Corporate Broking division which are now expected in 2015. In addition significant non-recurring costs have been incurred relating to the reorganisation, such that profit before tax is expected to be below last year which had benefited from £0.7m of one off gains.
Looking ahead, the Board has greater confidence for 2015, reflecting not only the positive impact of delayed business from 2014 being executed in 2015, but also anticipate a significant margin improvement across the business as a whole and in particular within the Private Wealth Management division.
Private Wealth Management
The Private Wealth Management division has made a substantial investment during the period in the recruitment of new teams with primarily discretionary books of business in the UK (principally in Birmingham, London and Milton Keynes) and the Isle of Man, the full financial benefits of which will become evident in 2015.
Furthermore the division has successfully exited from a number of smaller regional offices and also from low margin product lines which were non-core to the division`s strategy and profitability criteria.
As has been commented upon elsewhere, towards the end of the period a decline in dealing commission was witnessed which impacted commission revenue growth in this division for the year. However this has been partially mitigated by a strong increase in management fee income during the same period. Asset growth has remained strong and at year end assets under management and advice had risen by approximately 10% on a like for like basis.
The Corporate Broking division has continued to grow its corporate client list and as of the year end the number of clients had risen to 93 from 85 at year end 2013. In addition the division has continued to attract and recruit senior individuals across all disciplines, which is expected to enable the corporate client list to continue to grow. Due to the recent less favourable market conditions in the last quarter a number of proposed corporate and M & A transactions, and the associated fees thereon, have been delayed into 2015.
The major transition referred to above is now complete and the new management team is making significant progress in both reducing risk and identifying and implementing efficiency gains across the Company. The cost of these structural changes combined with higher than anticipated specific regulatory costs are expected to result in a non-recurring charge in excess of £0.7m.
Dividend and Notice of Results
Reflecting the Board’s confidence in the outlook for 2015, it will be proposing to Shareholders an increase in the final dividend payment of 0.5p to 2p per Ordinary share. This will be subject to shareholder approval at the 2015 AGM.
Full year 2015 results will be issued on Monday, March 2nd 2015.”
Richard Killingbeck, Chief Executive of WH Ireland Group said:
“WH Ireland has undergone significant change in 2014 which positions it very strongly for 2015, on the back of growing assets under management and an increased corporate client list. Whilst 2014 has finished below our expectations, we believe we have built a platform to deliver future profitable growth.”
For further information please contact:
WH Ireland Group plc
Richard Killingbeck, Chief Executive Officer
www.wh-ireland.co.uk / @WHIGroup
+44(0) 20 7220 1666
Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
Hugh Morgan, Corporate Finance
+44 (0)20 7886 2500
Reg Hoare / Jade Neal / Jamie Ricketts
+44(0) 20 3128 8100
Notes to editors
WH Ireland Group plc:
WH Ireland is a financial services company offering private wealth management and corporate broking services. Since 2000, the company has been listed on the London Stock Exchange on AIM (WHI). The Group has two divisions:
Private Wealth Management: The Group provides wealth management and wealth planning services tailored to the individual, corporates, trusts and funds. It has over 140 years’ pedigree in private client wealth management. It manages over £2.5 billion of assets under management and administration and operates from 12 offices around the United Kingdom.
Corporate Broking: The Group provides corporate finance, research, market making and fund raising capabilities to quoted small/mid-cap companies, including a full NOMAD service to the majority of our corporate clients. WH Ireland is ranked 3rd largest Nominated Advisor and corporate broker by number of AIM clients.