* AuM at 268 bln stg vs 262.9 bln at end-Dec
* Takes in new money across range of asset classes
* Market uncertainty may hit near-term retail demand
* Q1 pretax pre one-offs 130.7 mln stg vs year-ago 115 mln
* Shares up 2.9 pct in 0.4 pct stronger FTSE 100
(Adds CEO call comments, shares)
By Simon Jessop
LONDON, May 1 Assets under management at British
fund manager Schroders hit a record high in the first
quarter, after strong retail demand helped it take in new money
across a range of products.
The results published on Thursday are the latest evidence of
a buoyant UK asset management sector, as retail investors around
the world put money to work in financial markets, and follow
similarly positive numbers from smaller peers Henderson
and St James's Place.
Schroders said it had won 2.8 billion pounds from retail
clients and 1 billion from institutions across multi-asset,
equities and fixed income products, taking total assets up 2
percent to 268 billion pounds ($452.5 billion) from 262.9
billion at the end of December.
Chief Executive Michael Dobson said the year had started
well, with good net inflows in retail during April, though these
had not been at the same level as in the first quarter. He said
financial market flux could dampen investor demand in the near
"You can, from a seasonal point of view, get strong flows at
the start of the year, and so we're just sounding a note of
caution given the uncertainty around," Dobson said, citing
tensions in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as the impact
of the gradual withdrawal of U.S. monetary stimulus.
"Markets are clearly, after the very strong performance in
2013 and the latter part of 2012, to some extent moving
sideways... it wouldn't be surprising... if we saw a quiet
Dobson said retail demand had been particularly strong in
continental Europe, where it took in 1.7 billion pounds in net
new money, and the UK, where it took in around 700 million. Asia
and the United States were also positive.
The bulk of the new money, around 1.6 billion pounds, went
into its equity funds, he added.
Shares in Schroders, at 6.9 billion pounds the UK's largest
standalone fund manager by stock market value, were up 2.9
percent by 0802 GMT, ranking among the top gainers at that time
in the FTSE 100 blue chip index.
Heading into the results, there were no "sell" or "strong
sell" recommendations on the stock from the 17 analysts covering
it, with eight advising clients to "hold" positions, seven
advising "buy" and two "strong buy", data from Thomson Reuters
The firm has been flagged by analysts as one of the main
potential winners from a UK government plan to shake up the
pensions and savings industry, which could lead to billions more
pounds being invested in mutual funds as opposed to annuities.
On Thursday, Schroders, still part-owned by the founding
family that gave the company its name in the 19th Century, said
there was a wide range of opportunities on the institutional
side and it had a good pipeline of business, including a 12.2
billion pounds mandate from insurer Friends Life (part of
Resolution Ltd ), announced in March.
Dobson said the UK government's move to give people the
choice of whether to buy an annuity at retirement were important
and it was working with clients to design new products. Changes
to tax-free savings rules were also "at the margin ... very
helpful", although both were longer-term opportunities.
Pretax profit before exceptional items - the bulk of which
were related to the acquisition of Cazenove Capital and U.S.
fixed income business STW - reached 130.7 million pounds, up
from 115 million in the same period a year earlier, the company
said in a statement on Thursday.
Analysts at JPMorgan told clients the statement
"demonstrates a strong start to the year and provides further
evidence of Schroders' ability to attract flows across a broad
range of products. We reiterate our 'overweight'
($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds)
(Editing by Chris Vellacott and David Holmes)