- Returns from Argo Group's two flagship funds fell by 39.6% and 26.8% last year which was in line with emerging market benchmarks.

Chief executive Kyriakos Rialas said results for the period 14 February 2008 to the end of the year were satisfactory in an uncharacteristically difficult operating environment.

Trading conditions were especially trying during the second half of the company's financial period with credit markets all but seizing up following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September.

But he added: "Given Argo's experience in trading through periods of financial crises, we were able to react rapidly to the changing market conditions and positioned ourselves accordingly by taking a number of prudent measures to protect the group's funds from further NAV losses.

"Going forward, we anticipate seeing a rising number of opportunities to outperform, particularly as demand for credit as an asset class grows and emerging markets, bolstered by their relatively strong fundamentals, begin to stage a recovery."