* Assets in higher margin investment management arm fall
* GAM says highest ever inflows to absolute return funds
* Low margin private label assets up 2 pct
ZURICH, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Asset management firm GAM Holding said client assets edged higher in the first half of 2013, held back by the loss of a large mandate, heavy withdrawals from its physical gold fund and June’s equities market fall.
Switzerland’s biggest listed asset manager said assets rose to 116.6 billion Swiss francs ($125.8 billion), a 0.3 percent rise from year end as rising asset values offset net client withdrawals of 0.6 billion francs.
In the group’s higher margin investment management segment, assets fell slightly to 72.1 billion francs despite what the group said were its highest ever inflows to absolute return single manager funds, which aim to profit in both rising and falling markets.
“We are firmly convinced that, against the persistent backdrop of slow economic growth, negative real yields and highly volatile equity markets, active management will prove its value,” said group CEO David Solo in a statement.
“Clients cannot rely on ‘easy’ solutions to grow or safeguard their wealth.”
A 35 percent rise in performance fees, payable when funds achieve a pre-determined return, helped lift net profits by 58 percent year-on year to 111.7 million francs, while earnings per share were up 68 percent, boosted by an ongoing share buyback programme which ends in April 2014.
Low-margin private labelling assets rose 2 percent to 44.5 billion francs despite outflows of 0.4 billion francs resulting from what the group called atypical redemptions from offshore and Swiss domiciled funds. ($1 = 0.9272 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Martin de Sa‘Pinto; Editing by David Cowell)