- Merchant banking group Close Brothers reported a rise in annual operating profit as higher income and lower impairment charges bolstered performance.

For the year ended 31 July 2021, operating pre-tax profit increased 88% to £265.2 million year-on-year as income rose 10%.

'We saw high new business volumes and significantly lower impairment charges in Banking, good net inflows in asset management and strong trading volumes in Winterflood,' the company said.

Impairment losses on financial assets fell to £89.8 million from £183.7 million.

The bad debt ratio fell to 1.1% from 2.3%. The asset management division generated net inflows of 7%, with managed assets up 24% to £15.6 billion. The company proposed a final dividend of 42.0p, resulting in a full year dividend per share of 60.0p, up from 40.0p last year.

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