Liontrust revival continues, sees new client money

LONDON Wed Feb 2, 2011 7:55am EST

LONDON (Reuters) - Fund manager Liontrust Asset Management pulled in 108 million pounds of client money in the five months to February 1, in the latest sign the firm had stabilised after a phase of hefty outflows.

Liontrust (LIO.L) said clients with low exposure to UK and European equities - where the bulk of its funds trade - were returning to the asset class, which would boost its recovery in 2011.

Many investors had fled to bonds, considered less risky than shares, during the financial crisis.

"We're seeing a transfer towards riskier assets and areas people are tending to favour are UK equities and, not so strongly, to European equities," Liontrust CEO John Ions told Reuters.

Liontrust said its assets under management grew 15.9 percent to 1.3 billion pounds during the period, reflecting 76 million pounds of net sales in the three months to December 1 2010 and a further 32 million pounds of new business in the first two months of 2011.

Retail investors contributed 60 percent of new business, while new institutional clients put the European Absolute Return fund, Ions said.

Liontrust is trying to rebuild its business after bleeding the bulk of its assets following the resignation of star managers Jeremy Lang and William Pattison in early 2009, who ran most of the money it managed.

The firm reported its first quarter of net client inflows for more than two years last September.

Ions said he was confident the recovery would continue, lifted by the long-term performance of its funds, and predicted increased investor interest for its long/short credit fund in 2011, as well as its equity strategies.

Liontrust remains on the hunt for new fund teams in multi-asset and emerging market equities to broaden its product range, Ions said.

Performance fees during the interim period were 816,000 pounds.

Liontrust shares were unchanged at 86.5 pence at 0924 GMT. Shares in the group have risen 20 percent since late July, outperforming a 9 percent rise in the FTSE All-Share Index .FTAS.

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Sinead Cruise and Jon Loades-Carter)