Brewin Dolphin’s Leeds office reports busy year

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W​ealth manager Brewin Dolphin ​reported a​ 70 per cent​ fall in ​annual pre​-​tax profit​s​ to ​£​8.6​m, hit by one-off costs including the failed roll-out of new software​ and redundancy costs following the closure of seven offices.

The group took a £2.3m​ hit​ following the closure of ​its York, Chester, Dorchester, Guernsey, Stoke, Truro and Lymington offices.

Underlying pre​-​tax profit​s​ ​rose 16 per​ ​cent to ​£​60.2​m and the wealth manager said fee income r​o​se by 17​ per cent​ to £177.3​m following a 13​ per cent​ rise in discretionary assets to £24​bn. ​

​Michael Craven, head of Brewin Dolphin in Leeds, said: “2014 has been an exceptionally busy year in Leeds. We are proud of our contribution to these creditable results and we have done much to improve our efficiency and our services for clients.

“We are mindful of the many changes to the landscape for investors, with new freedoms for pensions and a veritable savings revolution, with a succession of announcements from the Chancellor during the year.

“We are determined to be in a position to help fill the growing advice gap, of which we see continuing evidence in Leeds.”

Earlier this year Brewin ​announced the closure of its York office and ​the expansion of​ its team in Leeds, ​with a relocat​ion​ to new premises ​​at Wellington Place, the new five-storey office building constructed by MEPC in the heart of Leeds’ New West End.

​The group opted to merge 
the teams following a detailed 
review of relevant client accounts.

​The ​Leeds ​team is responsible for managing £1.5bn of client assets.

The company ​had already ​shut its Bradford office as part of a restructuring exercise​.

Analyst ​Paul McGinnis at Shore Capital said: “Although previously flagged by the company, we feel compelled to highlight the £33.7m charge taken in the second half for the write off of a large system-implementation project. Continued large exceptional items diminish the quality of reported earnings in the eyes of investors.”

The company cut the final dividend by 24 per cent to​ 6.25p. Its total dividend rose 15 per cent to 9.9p.