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Park Row records £1.6m losses

Park Row, the distribution arm of the Royal Liver Group, has recorded losses
of £1.6m during the first half of 2008.

In its half-yearly results, the group says Park Row’s turnover was £7.4m, 16 per cent lower than its £8.7m target and 28 per cent lower than its H1 2007 figure of £10.3m.

However, branch costs fell from £1.9m in the first half of 2007 to £0.9m for the same period this year as a result of Park Row’s cost saving initiatives and restructuring programme.

Group chief executive Steve Burnett says the losses reflect the turbulence in the mortgage and investment markets depressing consumer demand for products.

He says Park Row will look to grow its business and sales volume by recruiting more quality advisers. The firm currently has 247 advisers but is looking to grow numbers by around 10 to 15 per cent in the next year.

Overall, Royal Liver recorded an operating surplus of £2.4m. The group’s online protection provider Progress saw new business volumes rise 27 per cent, with new business allowances 42 per cent ahead of budget.

Finance director George McGregor says: “Progress had a cracking first half-year. Two things have driven that, the competitiveness of its products and the protection business that is written isn’t as correlated to mortgage transactions as its competitors.”

Burnett says: “The outlook for the sector is dominated by the worsening economic climate in both the UK and Republic of Ireland and the likely impact on our customer’s spending patterns. Resilience will be our watch word.”


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The long-distance runner

First State’s defensive style of running its Asia Pacific Leaders makes it a contender for being a fund for all seasonsIwould not care to estimate how many fund managers I have met over the years but the number clearly runs into hundreds. During that time, many have impressed me, many have left me ambivalent and there have been those that I considered sub-standard. I always think a true test is whether or not I have the conviction to invest my own money in a fund.


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