M&G to pay dividend despite dive in profits

Investment manager M&G has said it will keep paying a dividend amid a “resilient” performance despite a tough six months in which profit more than halved.

The first half of the year, which was heavily affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, saw pre-tax profit fall to £309 million, from £714 million a year earlier, M&G said on Wednesday.

Fee-based revenue was down 9% to £580 million, the company added.

Chief executive John Foley said: “This has been a resilient performance in extremely difficult times, with the value of our diversified business mix coming through strongly.

“Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, net new money has flowed into our Institutional Asset Management business, while our UK retail savings franchise, anchored on our unique PruFund offering, has remained in positive net inflow.”

It is less than a year since M&G was spun off from its former parent, Prudential, and the half-year results come after a period marked by a general election as well as Covid-19, with M&G at one point having to temporarily suspend its property fund.

“Obviously, this is not the backdrop we would have wished as a newly independent company, but I have been hugely impressed by how my colleagues have responded to the challenge of continuing to serve our customers and clients during the pandemic,” Mr Foley said.

M&G’s retail asset management business took an especially hard hit, with outflows at £7.7 billion in the first half, though they slowed in the second quarter of the year.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: “Although the pace declined in the second quarter, the half-year total of £7.7 billion of outflows is a concerning figure, not only in terms of lost business but also in being reflective of how some retail investors traditionally react to market volatility, namely by heading for the exit, which is also something for the company to consider in light of future downturns.”