Liontrust Asset Management has reported a 55% increase in profit before tax as well as record net inflows in the year to 31 March 2019, in what has been a trying 12 months for the active asset management industry.
In results released this morning (27 June), the group reported profit before tax of £19m, compared to £12.3m in 2018, which includes costs of £11.1m, while adjusted profit before tax stood at £30.1m, up from £27.4m last year. Revenues climbed to £85m, a 10% increase on the £77m reported last year.
Additionally, AUM increased to £12.7bn, a 21% increase on the £10.5bn reported end of March 2018, while Liontrust said assets have since climbed to £14bn by 25 June 2019.
Net inflows for the annual period were also the highest on record - £1.8bn compared to £1bn last year. This was driven by flows into UK retail funds (£1.7bn), multi-asset (£129m) and international funds (£209m). Institutional assets saw outflows of £264m.
The Economic Advantage team, running UK equity funds, and the Sustainable Investment team continue to run the largest amount of assets for the group with £6.2bn and £3.7bn respectively.
These results come at a time when the UK fund industry has experienced a challenging year due to Brexit uncertainty and competition from passive funds. In its latest flows update, Morningstar reported £42bn had left UK-domiciled funds in the year to end of May.
John Ions, chief executive of Liontrust, said: "Record net inflows of £1.8bn and a 21% increase in AUM emphasise another successful year for Liontrust.
"This success has been achieved by our continued focus on executing our business plan. Over the past nine years, we have built an impressive group of investment teams, a great distribution franchise and a strong and distinctive brand.
"Liontrust had the 7th highest total net sales (including non-UK domiciled funds) in the UK in 2018 and the 5th highest in the first three months of 2019, according to the Pridham Report. The record flows have been achieved across a broad range of funds.
"The Sustainable Investment team, who joined Liontrust on 1 April 2017, has reached £3.74bn in AUM, the Global Fixed Income team has raised £419m in less than a year and the Economic Advantage team continues to produce impressive results.
"The talent we have is demonstrated by the fact that six funds managed by the Economic Advantage and Sustainable Investment teams have been shortlisted for Investment Week Fund Manager of the Year Awards on 27 June, along with Liontrust being nominated for Global Group of the Year."
After hiring a fixed income team from Kames Capital, led by David Roberts and Phil Milburn, Liontrust has launched strategic, high yield and absolute return strategies.
Ions indicated he is already earmarking further hires: "We will further extend our investment capability with strategic hires when the right opportunities arise and for which we believe there is investor demand.
"We continue to strive for a better future for Liontrust and most importantly for our clients. We will achieve this by delivering performance and value in a highly competitive market."
Meanwhile, the firm is also broadening its distribution capabilities in the UK and internationally.
"[We] have a strong brand in the UK and are extending the profile of Liontrust to the wholesale market in continental Europe," Ions said.
"We are continually developing the business infrastructure to service and support the growth in clients and assets."
The results were the last for outgoing chairman Adrian Collins who hands over the mantle to Alastair Barbour in September.
Ions commented: "Adrian brought me to Liontrust in 2010 when the outlook for the company was much different to today. Over the years, with the help of exceptional people who work at Liontrust, we have guided the business to the award-winning, strong position it is currently in.
"The journey has been challenging but most of all a fantastic experience, and I am delighted he placed his confidence in me nine years ago. I am also deeply grateful for his support and guidance over this period. Adrian leaves Liontrust in a far better place and well positioned to prosper in the future.
"Alastair Barbour will take over the mantle of chairman after the AGM in September. I have worked with Alastair for a number of years as non-executive chairman of the audit and risk committee, and I am confident that he will continue to steer Liontrust on its successful pathway."