IFG to keep Irish status

Financial services group, IFG has said it has no immediate plans to de-list its shares from the Irish Stock Exchange, nor move from its Dublin headquarters, despite shifting its entire operating focus towards Britain.

IFG to keep Irish status

In August, the Booterstown-based pensions specialist announced the sale of its Irish operations, with the Irish arm of global insurance group, Willis Group, snapping up the main pension administration and advisory business for €13.5m.

In a trading update, published yesterday and covering the first 10 months of this year, IFG said that it remains in discussions regarding the sale of ARB — the group’s smaller general insurance business, here —although a transaction is not imminent.

The sale, to Willis, of the main Irish business still needs Central Bank approval, but IFG expects the deal to complete before the end of this year.

“While we will continue to review our corporate structure, to drive performance and maximise returns to shareholders, we do not expect in the short-term to move our group headquarters from Ireland, or to change our current market listing arrangements,” management said.

IFG has a dual share listing in Dublin and London, but reports its financial results in sterling.

The group’s chief businesses will continue to be its main UK assets — the James Hay specialist pensions business and the independent financial advisory firm, Saunderson House.

“Our businesses are well-positioned in attractive parts of the UK wealth management market. We believe there is significant growth potential in these markets,” IFG said yesterday. It added that it remains open to growing not just organically, but through acquisition also.

“The group is now focused on its two main UK businesses and, following the completion of the sale transactions, will have a strong and liquid balance sheet to support our growth ambitions.

“While our focus remains on the continued organic growth in James Hay and Saunderson House, we will selectively consider acquisitions, including strategic arrangements such as the Capita deal [James Hay acquired Capita’s self-invested personal pensions/SIPP book, earlier this year], to further accelerate growth,” the company added.

Dividend policy is set to be reviewed next year in light of IFG’s improved liquidity.

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