The world’s largest listed hedge fund manager, Man Group, has raised its dividend despite a fall in profits, as it weathered volatile markets during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The London-based fund manager raised its annual payout to shareholders by 8 per cent, despite a year-on-year drop of 42 per cent in pre-tax profits to $179m.
Chief executive Luke Ellis remained confident about the group’s performance in a “challenging environment”, as assets under management reached a record level of $123.6bn at the end of 2020, beating the consensus among analysts compiled by the company.
However, Man attracted less new money than analysts expected, with $1.8bn in net inflows in 2020 compared with an expected $2.1bn.
The active management group’s alternative and quant funds performed well but two value-based funds, GLG Japan CoreAlpha and GLG Undervalued Assets — which struggled in the early stage of the pandemic — continued to underperform.
The rise in global markets in the second half of 2020 helped the group’s long-only funds to recover their losses from earlier in the year. Those funds had suffered as markets fell, contributing to an 8 per cent drop in Man’s assets under management in the first half of 2020.
“Financial markets responded initially with alarm and then rebounded with an uncharacteristic speed as governments and central banks rapidly introduced accommodative measures supporting liquidity, businesses and individuals,” said Ellis.
“In the last quarter, positive news about the efficacy and safety of vaccines began to help the world to foresee an eventual end to the devastating effects of the pandemic.”
Statutory earnings per share fell 49 per cent to 9.3 cents for the full year.