‘Positive outlook’ for Irish pensions

IFG has said its Irish pension and advisory business is performing well – in terms of profitability and client wins – and that its entire operations have enjoyed a good first half to the year.

Addressing shareholders at the group’s annual general meeting in Dublin yesterday, chairman Joe Moran reiterated the board’s previous guidance of 18c-20c for full year earnings per share for 2010.

Mr Moran added that both the pensioner trustee services and financial advisory divisions in Britain have enjoyed a good start to the year and are on target, with new business flows healthy.

“Our businesses are performing well and our balance sheet is strong. This will allow us to grow organically and, in the medium to long term, by acquisition,” he said.

“The property related business in Ireland continues to operate in a difficult environment, due to lack of capital and transactions. Focus in the business remains on achieving neutral contribution,” he added.

In terms of further acquisitions, group chief executive Mark Bourke added that there is significant long-term scope to add to its growing SIPP (self-invested personal pension) portfolio, which is a large and growing sector in Britain.

The integration of the company’s recent acquisition of British SIPP specialist James Hay, from the Santander group, is ahead of schedule and due for completion around this time next year. However, Mr Bourke said that it is unlikely any further acquisitions would be made before the end of 2011.

Equally, while nothing concrete is planned, there is also a strong possibility that IFG will add to its board through a British-based non-executive appointment.

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