- Close Brothers said lower activity levels across its markets in the first quarter of the year had kept a lid on growth. Its banking division grew the loan book by 0.9% in the quarter to £7.7bn, driven by commercial, but retail and property loan growth remained broadly flat. The bad debt ratio increased 'modestly' in the first quarter, relative to historically low levels, but the overall credit quality remained 'strong,' the bank said. The asset management division, meanwhile, achieved strong net inflows, with managed assets growing to £11.9bn at 31 October, up from £11.7bn at the July end and total client assets increasing to £13.4bn from £13.3bn. Its Winterflood business continued to see 'subdued' investor trading activity in the first quarter, the bank added.

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