At its AGM today group chairman Joanne Lake said cost cutting and wage freezes had helped the group stay on track.
She said: "Our financial result and adjusted EBITDA margin for the year were significantly ahead of budget, primarily as a result of the one-off reduction in bonuses and other cost savings made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
"The number of new clients on-boarded in the first four months of this new financial year is in line with the prior year, which is pleasing given the very different circumstances we are experiencing.
“Market stability has shown signs of improving, despite the ongoing political and macro-economic uncertainty, with net inflows into the group's investment and asset management services at the same level as the equivalent period last year.”
She said that the group was on the look out for acquisitions.
She said: “We expect that uncertainty around Brexit and the impact of Covid-19 will continue to influence investor and consumer sentiment in the short-term, but we are confident that our ability to address the changing needs of our clients will position us well to secure future growth, both organically and through further strategic acquisitions, in order to deliver sustainable shareholder returns.
“Current trading is in line with management's expectations and we remain focused on client service, responsibly integrating asset management and Financial Planning to build upon our established reputation for delivering sound advice and consistent investment performance."
The company announced a lower final dividend than last year of 12.7p per share (2019: 13.67p). This means the proposed total dividend for the year is 20p per share, similar to the previous year.
Despite the tough times the company’s performance means that interim bonuses have been paid to staff, other than senior executives and directors.
• After 15 years as chief financial officer, Nathan Imlach will stand down but continue as chief strategic adviser to the group, focusing on strategic direction and acquisitions. Ravi Tara, Michael Wright and Iain McKenzie will join the board.