UK - Investment bank Close Brothers posted a 28% rise in first-half pre tax profit to £97.8m (€143.6m), increased by a strong performance from its asset management capability, and forecast a satisfactory second half.

London-based Close Brothers Asset Management said its operating profit in the six months to January 31 more than doubled to £42.7m, up from £18.6m in 2006.

This was boosted by a £15m net capital gain from last December's sale of its holding in mining firm Minova International, which it had acquired in 2003, and also by what it called "long-standing joint venture property investment, as well as higher than normal performance fees".

Chief Executive Colin Keogh commented in a statement: "Looking forward we expect a satisfactory underlying trading result in our second half with, again, some profitable investment realisations."

Funds under management were up 8% on the previous six months, at £8.9bn.

Elsewhere, HSBC Investments announced today that it has named Andy Clark as successor to the firm's managing director Michael Warren. Kathleen Currie has been appointed managing director on the institutional side.

Warren has been linked with a switch to Thames River Capital, alongside the former Credit Suisse Asset Management's multimanager team Gary Potter and Rob Burdett, according to reports today.

HSBC holdings, Europe's largest bank by market value, reported a 5% increase in full-year profit and strong growth in investment banking to $5.806bn (€4.43bn), up from $5.16bn in the previous year.

Media reports said the result is short of analysts' expectations, as the bank took a $10.6bn (£5.5bn) hit for bad debts after problems in its US mortgage lending.