- Wealth management group Quilter swung to a full-year loss, owing to higher tax charges, and said the coronavirus had added uncertainty to its outlook.

Pre-tax losses for the year through December amounted to £53m, compared to a profit of £41m on-year.

Quilter said the loss reflected a higher policyholder tax charge, due to 'the increase in market levels during 2019'.

Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 1% to £235m, when excluding the company's single strategy business, but fell from £259m when including that business.

Quilter said its underlying profit performance was ahead of market expectations.

It declared a total dividend for the year of 5.2p per share, up from 3.3p on-year, excluding a special dividend of 12p per share.

'Our optimisation plans remain on track and our advice acquisitions will contribute to flows in the coming years,' chief executive Paul Feeney said.

Feeney reiterated the company intended to undertake a capital return of £375m to shareholders from the net surplus proceeds from the Quilter Life Assurance sale, with a share buyback to commence imminently.

'We have also announced an odd-lot offer to provide small shareholders with a cost effective means of selling their shares,' he added.

Feeney said 2020 had begun well, but the sharp coronavirus induced market correction beginning in late February has created a level of uncertainty as to the outlook for the remainder of the year.

'It is currently too early to ascertain what impact market volatility will have on investor sentiment, NCCF and the consequential impact this may have on revenues and profitability,' he said.

'Notwithstanding short term market sentiment, we remain optimistic on the long-term secular opportunity across our markets and Quilter is strategically well positioned to benefit from this.'

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