By Jemima Kelly
LONDON (Reuters) - British upmarket fund manager Rathbone Brothers
In its full-year report on Thursday, Rathbone announced earnings of 44.2 million pounds ($73.9 million) for the year, spurred by a 9 percent rise in net inflows of new money from clients coaxed into investing more by recovering markets.
Total funds under management reached 22 billion pounds at the end of 2013, compared with 18 billion a year earlier.
Finance Director Paul Stockton said the company was optimistic about growth in the year ahead and management was keeping an open mind about possible acquisitions as a means to further expansion.
"We certainly ended 2013 very well so there's no reason to think 2014 will be any different," Stockton told Reuters.
Rathbone's results kick off the earnings season for the British fund management sector, which is coming under increasing regulatory scrutiny since the financial crisis, tempering some of the industry's optimism about recovering markets.
Underlying profit before tax, which excludes exceptional expenses such as costs incurred during relocation of the group's head office, were up 12.5 percent at 50.5 million pounds, slightly ahead of analyst forecasts of 49.6 million.
Rathbone said it would pay a final dividend of 31 pence per share, bringing the total to 49 pence for the year.
Chief Executive Andy Pomfret will step down on February 28 after 10 years at the helm of the company, to be replaced by his current deputy, Philip Howell, who joined last March.
(Editing by Chris Vellacott and David Holmes)