Australian Ethical's profit down 64pc
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Kate Kachor is a journalist with InvestorDaily, a Morningstar publication.
Australian Ethical Investment (AEF) has recorded a 64 per cent fall in net profit after tax (NPAT) for the year to 30 June due to lower revenues and a continued reduction of fund inflows across the industry.
The listed fund manager late last week announced an NPAT of $402,000 and an underlying profit after tax of $859,000.
"The NPAT result reflects lower revenues due to lower funds under management, arising from lower market values and the continued reduction of inflows across the industry, and our decision to gradually reduce management fees," the company said in its annual results announcement.
"These factors have been offset somewhat by a reduction in operating costs, the full-year benefits of which were not realised in [full-year 2012]."
It said the result also included a number of one-off items, such as a non-cash impairment charge of $210,000 due to a revaluation of the company's premises. Redundancy costs set the company back $319,000.
The restructure was undertaken to reduce operating costs and position the company for a more competitive lower-fee environment. As a result of the changes, staff numbers were cut from 50 to 36.
Australian Ethical also incurred $125,000 in costs associated with shareholder action during the year.
In June, a group of Australian Ethical shareholders called a general meeting in an attempt to oust the company board. The attempt failed.
As well as taking a firm financial hit during the full year to 30 June, Australian Ethical had also made positive operational change, the company said.
It has made a number of improvements to its products, including reducing fees on them and improving insurance arrangements for super fund members at a lower cost.
The company has also appointed Russell Employee Benefits as the administration provider for the company's Australian Ethical Superannuation Fund from April 2013.
Australian Ethical managing director Phil Vernon said the past year could be classed as one of "considerable change" for the company.
"In the face of difficult market conditions we have continued repositioning the business from being a high-cost, high-priced business to being far more competitive, commercial, services-oriented and efficient," Vernon said.
"We are setting the business up for a long-term sustainable future. Whilst transitional costs have been incurred in the short term, the company will be stronger in the long run."