UK – Banking and fund management firm Singer & Friedlander says it has lost several institutional mandates as a result of shifts in strategy by consultants and asset allocation by clients.

“We were disappointed to lose a number of institutional mandates in the first half of 2003 principally due to changes in strategy by the consultants involved and asset allocation shifts by the underlying clients,” the firm said.

“However, these losses have been partially offset by some smaller mandate gains for our institutional business.”

The remarks came is it reported that asset management operating profits fell to 1.6 million pounds (2.3 million) in the first half, from 3.6 million pounds a year ago.

“That reduction is obviously disappointing, but should be viewed in the context of the levels of the major markets, particularly those in the UK,” it said. Overall group operating profits slid to 14.6 million pounds from the 2002 period’s 18.7 million pounds.

Chairman Paul Selway-Swift said: “The UK market, on which the fortunes of our asset management business are closely dependent, has, for much of the period, been below its end 2002 level although it is encouraging that by 30 June 2003 the lost ground had been recovered.”

Funds under management at the end of June were 2.6 billion pounds, against 3.2 billion pounds a year ago. “Our private clients, the nexus of our business, have generally stayed loyal to us during the difficult period of the last two years which is a tribute to the close and positive relationships generated by our fund managers.”

It was not ruling out growth in the asset management arm. “We continue to be alert to opportunities for increasing the size and profitability of our asset management business through the acquisition of individuals and teams. It added that “a major consolidation” of its retail funds would be finalised later in the year.