Bell Financial Group (BFG) has reported a first-half profit after tax of $15.9 million, a 63 per cent increase from the previous corresponding period.
As the company released its results, it alerted shareholders chairman Colin Bell has decided to temporarily step down from the board, although he remains involved with the group.
Managing director and acting chairman Alastair Provan has become executive chaiman in Mr Bell’s place.
Mr Provan initially became acting chairman after Mr Bell was said to be stepping down temporarily due to health reasons in January, although he retained his role as an executive director of the board.
Group revenue was $120.6 million, 21 per cent ahead of the first half in 2018.
The group had $54.8 billion in funds under advice (FUA), up from $48.7 billion the year before.
The wholesale division, including equities and corporate fee income, nearly doubled its revenue from the prior corresponding period to $36.9 million. Its profit after tax more than tripled to $9.2 million.
The retail segment posted $83.6 million in revenue, up by 3 per cent from H1 2018 while its profit for the half was down by 9 per cent to $6.6 million.
Earnings per share came to 5 cents, a 35 per cent increase from H1 2018. The board declared a 3.5 cents per share fully franked interim dividend, 27 per cent up from the 2018 interim dividend.
Mr Provan said the result was pleasing considering the group’s slow start in January.
“We are committed to the ongoing development of new and existing proprietary platforms which we believe deliver real cost and revenue benefits and provide us with a market advantage,” Mr Provan said.
“Our price discovery and trade execution platform IQ is currently being rolled out across the network which over time will result in a significant reduction in execution costs.
“We have a dedicated development team working on enhancing Third Party Platform’s capability. In future we intend to use this platform to settle, clear and account for all equity transactions for our full service and online broking businesses.
At the end of June, BFG subsidiary Bell Potter Capital acquired two structured products, Equity Lever and Geared Equity Investments from Macquarie Bank, along with the associated clients and loan books and a dedicated product and business development team.
The client and loan book transfers were completed earlier this month, which Mr Provan said almost doubled the size of the company’s existing loan book.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].