UK - Dedicated asset manager, Schroders, increased profits before tax last year to £290m (€428m) up from  £250.7m in 2005, a 16% rise.

Assets under management rose from £122.6bn to  £128bn, a rise of just 4.9% in a year of bullish equity and property markets.

But the company said that it was pursuing a strategy of higher margin business. In spite of net outflows of £8bn from institutional clients, it noted that fees on incoming institutional business were 31% higher than the fees on outgoing business.

Likewise the group cost: income ratio showed a slight drop to 65% from 66% in 2005 while group costs to gross profits also declined from 72% to 68%.

In aggregate, including private banking and retail, asset management gross profit margins moved up to 59 bps from 54 bps.

The net outflows of £8bn were partly offset by market appreciation worth £5.3bn on institutional assets.

Schroders nevertheless acknowledged considerable haemorrhaging of client money from Japanese equities.

One UK pension fund described the recent returns achieved by portfolio manager, Fumiko Roberts in London as "disappointing" although only the largest Japanese stocks delivered positive returns last year.

Competitors acknowledged it was a tough year for any managers focused on medium or smaller companies.

The strength of sterling also hit the group hard. The exchange differences on translation of foreign operations cost almost £66m last year. In 2005 there had been a profit of £38.6m.