* Net outflows in past two quarters
* Share price more than halved over past year
* Investors to focus on future dividend policy
* AHL performance improves this year
By Laurence Fletcher
LONDON, Mar 1 Investors will hope that Man
Group can finally show signs it is winning back clients
and will hold its dividend when the world's biggest listed hedge
fund manager posts its results on Thursday.
The firm, whose shares have more than halved over the past
year on investor concerns about outflows and the performance of
its funds, is likely to give an indication of sales so far this
year, during which most financial markets have rebounded.
Man, which bought rival GLG Partners in 2010 to boost assets
and diversify its business, has suffered net client outflows in
every quarter over the past three years, apart from the first
two quarters of last year.
In September it reported its fastest rate of outflows since
early 2009 and in January this year reported further
withdrawals, albeit at a slightly reduced rate.
"It wouldn't surprise me if fund flows are negative in
January and February. People are going to say that the rate of
outflows has fallen, but that doesn't excite me," Peter
Lenardos, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters.
On Wednesday fund firm Henderson Group posted net outflows
of 6.4 billion pounds ($10.22 billion) last year.
Man is shifting the timing of its financial year and is set
to post its results for the nine months to end-December.
Investors will also focus on Man's dividend, which is not
fully covered by earnings, and look for signs as to what it will
do with its $850 million of regulatory capital surplus. The firm
has been buying back shares in recent months.
In January Man said it would pay a dividend of 16.5 cents a
share for the nine-month period, which equates to an annual
payment of 22 cents.
"Buybacks are fine, if it can afford them," said Lenardos.
"If the dividend is cut that could be negatively received ...
I'll be looking if they announce a dividend policy (going
Investors are likely to be encouraged by the upturn in
performance of its flagship computer-driven fund AHL, which lost
7.1 percent last year but is up 2.4 percent so far this year.