Financial services firm IFG pleased with positive start to the year

FINANCIAL services group IFG has said that its UK operations — which accounted for 57% of group profits last year — have enjoyed a good start to 2011, without giving any specific growth figures.

The Dublin-headquartered business said yesterday that the group as a whole has started the year well, with management “pleased with trading for the first four months”.

“General market conditions remain challenging as the fallout from the global economic and financial crisis continues. However, our businesses are resilient, given their recurring revenue streams and strong market positions. This operational ability is bolstered by the group’s financial strength, characterised by low gearing levels and high cash generative qualities,” management added.

In the UK, IFG’s business consists of its specialist pensions administration unit, James Hay and Saunderson House, and its independent financial advisory business — both of which are doing well. However, the total number of self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) under administration at James Hay dipped slightly to 39,206 since the turn of the year, mainly reflecting the company’s declining customer book at the time of IFG taking it over.

In Ireland, which is no longer IFG’s core market, the corporate pensions and individual advisory business has performed well this year — both in terms of profitability and new client wins — but the general brokering business is continuing to find trading difficult.

As yesterday’s update was a scheduled trading statement, IFG was not at liberty to add anything to its recent announcement that it had received a potential takeover approach. But, while nothing more is known of that matter IFG did say that its strong balance sheet gives it “the scope to pursue our growth plans”. It has previously voiced its desire to play a part in the anticipated consolidation of the SIPP sector in the UK and in establishing a presence in south-east Asia.


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