EUROPE - Fortis Investment Management (FIM) still has its sights set on expansion despite seeing net operating profits plummet 50% in 2001 to EUR45m, down from the EUR90m registered the previous year.
FIM, the asset management business of Belgian / Dutch financial services group Fortis, was still upbeat about the results, claiming to have “managed to withstand the effects of deteriorated markets” through a combination of freezing expenditure, cutting fees, and streamlining its product range.
FIM did achieve a positive inflow of new capital during 2001, from both the institutional and retail markets. The majority of FIM’s new customers were recruited in France, the United States and Belgium.
But FIM’s assets under management fell due to the volatile state of the markets, said the firm. Total assets under management fell 7% to EUR84.7bn during 2001, with institutional assets falling by 2% to EUR34bn. However, retail assets stooped 10%, landing at approximately EUR51bn.
FIM reiterated its strategy to grow via acquisition and organic growth. The firm is confident about 2002, after slashing its product range by a third and signing new distribution contracts last year, including one with UBS.
FIM is also eyeing China, having established an office in Shanghai and forming a joint venture with Haitong Securities.
Overall, Fortis achieved a net operating profit of EUR2.23bn, down 4% from its record EUR2.4bn profit in 2000. Fortis attributes this to difficult market conditions, the creation of additional provisions for the credit and investment portfolios in the fourth quarter and lower investment income.
By Geoffrey Ho
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