Australian Ethical lifts underlying profit 18%

24 August 2018

Australian Ethical Investment has recorded an 18 per cent lift in underlying profit for fiscal 2018 to $5 million, achieved on the back of strong growth in members and inflows, as well as a positive investment performance.

The ethical fund manager declared a fully franked final dividend of 235 cents a share for the full year, bringing the total dividend for the year to $4.00 per share, an increase of 54 per cent on the previous year.

The dividend will be paid on 21 September 2018 to shareholders on record as at 7 September 2018, Australian Ethical said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

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Revenue for the year rose 27 per cent to $36.0 million, while funds under management (FUM) for rose 31 per cent to $2.82 billion, the manager said.

However, operating costs rose 28 per cent to $28.6 million, which Australian Ethical said was at a slightly faster pace than revenue and due to the manager’s continued investment in the business and its people.

Membership of Australian Ethical Super grew 17 per cent from the previous corresponding period to 41,518.

Australian Ethical Investment managing director Phil Vernon said an increasing awareness of sustainability concerns among consumers and investors had brought about increased competition in the sector.

“We welcome this as it is core to our beliefs that all funds consider their social and environmental impact. However, we remain confident of the uniqueness of our offering, particularly against the backdrop of the Royal Commission into financial services,” he said.

“We believe that this unique combination of features and strengths continues to position us for future growth.”

Vernon said Australian Ethical continues to invest in its business, which includes enhancing its digital platform to better integrate customer acquisition, engagement and retention.

He also said that since 2013 Australian Ethical’s MySuper fees had fallen by more than 50 per cent, and that in fiscal 2019 the manager was planning fee reductions for several of its retail managed funds, along with reductions for select options in its super fund.

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