By Sinchita Mitra
(Reuters) - Hargreaves Lansdown Plc on Friday beat annual profit expectations helped by better cost management, sending shares in the British investment platform to a 2-1/2-month high.
Last year Hargreaves battled soaring costs which hit its underlying annual profit and prompted it to launch strategic initiatives to manage costs efficiently.
"This past year has seen a strong growth to our strategic execution... our focus in 2023 will be to continue delivering on these initiatives," CEO Chris Hill said in a media call.
The company reported annual underlying profit before tax of 297.5 million pounds ($361.67 million), down 19% from a year earlier but beating a company-compiled consensus by 5%, according to a JP Morgan note.
Hargreaves shares rose as much as 5.07% by 0749 GMT, putting it at the top of the FTSE 100 index.
Hargreaves posted a 9% fall in assets under administration as 123.8 billion pounds for the year ended June 30 as investors moved away from riskier assets, with key global markets buckling under rising political tensions and inflation woes.
The company said it expected uncertain economic and political conditions to continue for the full year.
Global fund managers who saw their assets under management reach record levels during the pandemic are now witnessing increased outflows. Investors have become more cautious amid UK inflation hitting a four-decade high.
The British firm also reported a slowdown in its customer acquisition, with net new business of 5.5 billion pounds, down from 8.7 billion a year earlier.
Hargreaves, which had benefited from record trading volumes amid the 'GameStonk' retail frenzy last year, saw its trading volumes fall, and expects muted volumes to continue.
($1 = 0.8235 pounds)
(Reporting by Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Jason Neely)