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Smith & Williamson pushes back listing date, despite 20% profit rise

Smith & Williamson pushes back listing date, despite 20% profit rise

Smith & Williamson has pushed back the date of its potential listing to 2020, according to its interim results.

Despite ongoing work on improving governance and implementing new systems, chairman Andrew Sykes said the planned stock market listing would now not take place until 2020.

He said: ‘Our work on governance, business structure and new systems is an essential part of our plan to seek a stock market listing in due course. We previously announced that this could not be contemplated before the second half of 2019 at the earliest.

'Having reviewed our progress to date and taking account of the work still to be done, it is likely that our plans will not come to fruition until 2020.’

Previously, the company said it would not be in a position to list before the second half of 2019. 

The firm has continued to work on implementing new systems and is now moving into the ‘build phase’ of its IT program. However, it said it experienced some setbacks in the implementation of the practice management system for professional services, which is now expected to take longer to complete.

Aside from this, the business has had a bumper six months, with pre-tax profit up 20% year-on-year to £25 million. Over the six months to 31 October, funds under management remained flat at £20.1 billion, while operating income rose 3.6% to £134.8 million.

The increase in profit includes a gain due to the release of a £3.5 million provision. In 2016, the firm had set aside this money to cover the cost of a tax dispute with HMRC over the treatment of goodwill payments to a team of wealth managers. At the time the company revealed that it received three HMRC enquiries concerning PAYE and NIC determinations. Regarding the goodwill payments, Smith & Williamson suffered a defeat in the Upper Tribunal and had requested an oral hearing.

The firm said that the disputes have now been resolved, with a final settlement agreed upon. Therefore, a £3.5 million provision has been released into the income statement. Excluding this provision, adjusted operating profit was up 6.3% to £21.8 million. 

Commenting on the results, Kevin Stopps (pictured right), co-chief executive, said: ‘The first six months of the financial year have been characterised by a period of steady internal progress, accompanied by a degree of external turbulence. We have delivered a robust set of results, reflecting continued growth and investment across the group, as we build on our longstanding position of strength and the breadth of our capabilities.’

Co-chief executive David Cobb (left) added: ‘In spite of short-term uncertainties in the current market environment, we remain positive about the longer term outlook and potential for our business and believe we will be in a good position to capitalise on significant opportunities in the wealth management and professional services market.’

The board said the company would pay an interim dividend of 10p per ordinary share on 22 February 2019.

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