July 30, 2014 / 7:11 AM / in 3 years

UPDATE 2-Jupiter Fund Management's profitability down, shares fall

* Funds under management rise to 33.1 bln pounds at end-June

* Margin dips to 87 basis points on fixed-income led growth

* Underlying pretax profits lag, shares down (Adds details, analyst comment, quotes, share reaction)

By Nishant Kumar

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Jupiter Fund Management posted forecast-lagging first-half earnings on Wednesday, sending its shares lower and taking the gloss off a march to a new high in assets under management.

Under new Chief Executive Maarten Slendebroek, Jupiter has sought to boost global sales and diversify away from its traditional equity business by attracting more money into lower-margin fixed-income products.

The change in the product mix, however, dragged its fee margin down to 87 basis points in the six-months to end-June, from 92 basis points at the end of the same period in 2013 and weighed on its broader profitability.

Net revenues in the period were 148.5 million, against consensus at just over 150 million pounds, analysts said.

“This is a business-mix effect as pricing within our product range at the individual fund level has generally been stable,” said Slendebroek, a former BlackRock executive named as CEO in December.

Jupiter’s funds under management (FuM) rose by 4.4 percent quarter on quarter to 33.1 billion pounds ($56.1 billion), boosted by a net 1.3 billion pounds in new client money, although the new record amount disappointed some analysts.

Jupiter also said it expected a client to withdraw a large lower-margin investment later in the year, without giving more details.

Its total fees rose by 10 million pounds to 141 million pounds in the period.

The money manager announced an interim dividend of 3.7 pence, which again lagged consensus forecasts for around 4 pence, analysts said, as part of a progressive dividend policy and reiterated a commitment to issuing special dividends.

Peter Lenardos at RBC Capital Markets called the release “a slight miss across the board” - with assets under management lagging his target of 33.4 billion pounds and adjusted earnings per share of 12.9 pence lagging his expectation of 13.2 pence. He added that Jupiter was “still a good company - just fairly valued”.

At 1111 GMT, shares in mid-cap Jupiter were down 2.8 percent in a stable FTSE mid-cap index, Thomson Reuters data showed, after earlier falling by almost 4.5 percent.

Heading into the results report, 10 out of 16 analysts had either a “buy” or “strong buy” rating on the stock.

Jupiter was trading at 14.36 times forward 12-month earnings against a peer group average of 15.35 times, Thomson Reuters data showed.

In the longer term Jupiter is expected to benefit from a UK government decision to provide more flexibility to individuals in how they invest their retirement savings.

Instead of buying an income for life from an insurer, many people will now be able to put their money in mutual funds and other investments to help them maximise their returns.

“With a significant bias to equities, distributed to retail investors, we believe Jupiter is one of the most favourably exposed to a sustained improvement in investor risk appetite for both flows and performance,” Numis analyst David McCann said in a statement.

“We continue to believe the main value in Jupiter lies in its long-term potential to exploit a structural growth opportunity in the retail savings market,” as a result of the structural changes to the pensions industry. ($1 = 0.5902 British Pounds) (Reporting by Nishant Kumar; editing by Simon Jessop and Jane Baird)

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