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Investment management profit rises 9% at Fortis

BELGIUM – The investment management arm of Belgian financial services giant Fortis saw its net operating profit rise 9% in 2002 – though staff numbers have fallen 7%.

“The net operating profit of Fortis Investment Management rose to 49 million euros (+9%) in 2002,” Fortis said in its 2002 earnings statement. A Fortis spokeswoman said that the unit did see a fall in assets though it was "not dramatic". Fortis' statement to the exchange had said the division had seen "a sharp fall in assets under management", which the spokesperson said was an error. The spokeswoman could not provide specific figures.

The division cut 7% of its staff in 2002, leaving it with 639 employees. Fortis Investment Management manages 12.7 billion dollars in European pension fund assets.

“In a difficult economic environment, FIM managed to generate new capital inflow of four billion euros, half of which was due to the full consolidation of MeesPierson Finas (Indonesia).”

Fortis’ overall net profit for 2002 declined to 532 million euros, from 2.6 billion euros in 2001. The fall was due to a total of 1.8 billion euros being written off its equity portfolio. “In 2002 the value of the equity portfolio fell below its original cost for the first time in Fortis’ history,” it said.

Chief executive Anton van Rossum said it was “unrealistic at the moment to give guidance on the results for 2003”.

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