Fourth Quarter Trading Update

RNS Number : 9507J
Record PLC
17 April 2020
 

17 APRIL 2020

RECORD PLC
FOURTH QUARTER TRADING UPDATE

Record plc (“Record” or “the Company”), the specialist currency manager, today announces a trading update for the three months ended 31st March 2020.

 

Financial Year Operational Highlights

·    Assets under management equivalents (“AUME”) expressed in US dollars grew by 2% for the 12 months to 31st March 2020 to $58.6 billion

·    Client numbers grew by 11% to 72 in the year to 31st March 2020

·    Highly resilient agency business model, with blue-chip institutional client base and conservative balance sheet, allowing the Company to respond swiftly to the disruption caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19)

·    Record remains poised for further growth, with recent market volatility reinforcing the need for currency risk management services from specialist advisors

 

Fourth Quarter Operational Highlights

·    AUME expressed in US dollars decreased by 9% over the period to $58.6 billion as at 31st March 2020

·    Net inflows of $0.1 billion in the period, notwithstanding the outflow of $1 billion from a temporary tactical bespoke mandate previously announced on 13th March 2020

·    Client numbers decreased by 1 over the period to 72

·    No material client losses during the quarter

 

Trading in the 12 months to 31st March 2020

The business generated strong trading momentum coming into the final month of its financial year with AUME for the 11 months to 29th February 2020 ahead by 13%.  Client numbers increased to 72 during the year, with no material client losses, reflecting both our ability to generate long-term enduring client relationships and the fruits of our ongoing new business generation initiatives.

As expected, asset pools whose currency risk exposure is managed by Record have seen their values impacted by falls in global financial markets in response to the Covid-19 crisis, with market movements contributing to a reduction in AUME of $4.5bn as at 31st March 2020.  However, with the exception of the reduction of approximately $1bn to a temporary tactical bespoke mandate announced on 13th March 2020, Record saw net inflows of $1.1bn in the final quarter, with strong performance from our hedging products maintained through March, reflecting the value ascribed by asset owners to specialist advisors with proven expertise in managing complex financial risk. Client engagement over the course of recent weeks has been particularly strong.

Covid-19

Record’s track record of success is founded on the quality of its employees and the Board’s first priority has been to ensure their safety and actively promote their well-being.  The Company has successfully transitioned to full remote working, with no interruption in service to clients, and has not cut staff wages, nor taken advantage of the Government’s job retention scheme. Record continues to offer its complete suite of services to clients in a seamless manner, testament to the operational flexibility of our business.

Resilience

With an operating track record stretching back to 1983, the Board has pursued a growth strategy founded on a highly resilient platform. The business is very prudently financed, with no debt.  The quality of its risk management expertise and its standing in the global currency markets has engendered a long list of loyal, primarily institutional asset owners.  Record operates an agency-based model, does not act as principal and as such has lower capital needs and minimal client credit exposure. Record’s business has been and remains consistently profitable, generating positive cashflows and paying dividends to shareholders.

Risk Management Expertise

The core of Record’s institutional offering is a proven ability to manage risk, either to mitigate against or profit from it.  In recent years the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and the resultant monetary easing has served to dampen volatility.  From a market perspective the recent extreme volatility across all asset classes has served to highlight the benefit of having effective broad risk mitigation strategies in place.

Diversification

Whilst in the short term the focus of the business has been transitioning to working remotely whilst delivering for clients in stressed market conditions, we continue to prioritise re-energising the business’s growth strategy.  The business is actively investigating further client-led product diversification initiatives through ways in which our currency expertise could be applied across different strategies such as impact investing, ESG-related investments, and the use of frontier currencies in our products.

Dividend

The Board’s dividend policy targets a level of dividend which is at least covered by earnings.  The Board has previously noted its intention, subject to financial performance and market conditions, to return excess earnings over ordinary dividends for the financial year and adjusted for changes in capital requirements, to shareholders, normally in the form of special dividends.

The Board’s dividend policy has not changed as a result of the current market conditions, and the business remains profitable, cash generative with a strong balance sheet.  Consequently, at this time, the Board expects to maintain payment of its ordinary dividend for the financial year in line with current market consensus, subject to final confirmation by the Board at the announcement of full year results.

 

Chief Executive of Record plc, Leslie Hill, commented:

“The fourth quarter has seen the rapid emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has severely affected financial markets, including the currency markets in which Record operates, specifically in terms of heightened volatility, increased trading volumes and restricted liquidity, testing the resilience of markets and market participants to the extreme.

“Such times serve to test the true resilience of any business. The quality of our institutional client base and our longstanding and trusted relationships with those clients underpin our business model, as does the capability and experience of our employees, our technology, operational flexibility and our strong balance sheet.

“It is likely that the extreme volatility across all principal asset classes will lead asset owners and managers to review and reconsider their approach to risk management going forward. Record’s long track record of delivering risk-based value to institutions means we are well positioned to capitalise on this for the benefit of our clients.  As a result Record is well positioned to continue to deliver compelling returns to shareholders.

“I would like to finish by thanking all the Record team for their incredible work ethic and client commitment during these trying times. We will continue to prioritise their safety and well-being alongside helping our clients manage their exposure to the damage caused by the virus.”

 

Further Q4 Trading Analysis

1.         AUME composition

The Group’s AUME expressed in US dollars as at 31st March 2020 totalled $58.6 billion (31st December 2019: $64.7 billion), and expressed in sterling totalled £47.3 billion (31st December 2019: £48.8 billion).  AUME expressed in US dollars decreased by 9% between 31st December 2019 and 31st March 2020 and by 3% when expressed in sterling.  The composition of AUME by product was as follows:

AUME $ billion

 

31st March 2020

31st December 2019

Dynamic Hedging

2.5

3.5

Passive Hedging

50.3

53.4

Currency for Return

2.6

3.3

Multi-Product

3.0

4.2

Cash & Futures

0.2

0.3

Total

58.6

64.7

2.         AUME Movement

Net client AUME flows in the three months to 31st March 2020 by product were as follows:

Net client AUME flows – $ billion

 

3 months to 31st March 2020

3 months to 31st December 2019

Dynamic Hedging

(0.1)

0.1

Passive Hedging

1.1

1.4

Currency for Return

0.1

Multi-Product

(1.0)

1.0

Cash & Futures

Total

0.1

2.5

Record had 72 clients at 31st March 2020 (31st December 2019: 73 clients).  On 13th March 2020, the Company announced the reduction of approximately $1 billion to a temporary tactical bespoke mandate arising as a consequence of market movements.  This outflow is included in the table above and fee rates for this mandate were reported under, and generated fees consistent with Record’s Multi-Product mandates.

Other than client flows, the factors which have had an aggregate impact on AUME during the quarter of -$6.2 billion were as follows:

(i)         Exchange rate movements and mandate volatility targeting:    -$1.7bn
Exchange rate movements during the period affect the conversion of non-US dollar mandate sizes into US dollar AUME.  In addition certain Currency for Return mandates targeting a specific volatility target may be scaled up or down.

(ii)        Movements in global stock and other markets:                           -$4.5bn
                                                                                                                             Substantially all the Passive and Dynamic Hedging, and some of the Multi-Product mandates, are linked to stock and other market levels.  Consequently AUME may be affected by movements in these markets.

3.         Investment performance

For US Dynamic Hedging clients during the quarter, hedging returns in the programmes were positive, and provided strong downside risk protection in a highly volatile environment as the US dollar strengthened versus the weighted basket of hedged currencies.

The investment performance for Record’s return-seeking strategies has been mixed during the quarter.

Record’s Dynamic Macro Currency strategy which uses a mix of both discretionary and systematic investment allocations saw positive performance in the quarter, with investment performance for the three months to 31st March 2020 of +6.84% (three months to 31st December 2019 was -2.34%).

Record’s return-seeking strategies using more systematic investment allocations saw negative performance in the quarter.

Investment performance of the FTSE Currency FRB10 index (excess return in sterling) during the three months to 31st March 2020 was -3.98% (three months to 31st December 2019 was +0.19%).

Record’s Emerging Market product investment performance was negative during the quarter and for an un-geared portfolio equated to a quarterly return of -8.76% (three months to 31st December 2019 return of +1.04%).  Annualised performance since inception (30th November 2009) for an un-geared portfolio was +1.19% p.a.

Investment performance in the Multi-Strategy product that comprises the FTSE Currency FRB10, Emerging Market, Value, Momentum and Range Trading strategies was negative during the quarter.  The performance of Record’s Multi-Strategy composite targeting 4% volatility equated to a quarterly return of -5.64% (three months to 31st December 2019: return of -0.46%).  Annualised performance since inception (31st July 2012) for the portfolio was +0.60% p.a.

4.         AVERAGE FEE RATES AND PERFORMANCE FEES

During the quarter to 31st March 2020, fee rates remained broadly unchanged from the previous quarter.  No performance fees were earned in the quarter.

 

Future Results Announcements

Subject to FCA guidelines, Record will announce its financial results for the year ending 31st March 2020 on 19th June 2020 and its first quarter trading update on 17th July 2020.

 

 

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Record plc                                                                             Tel: +44 (0) 1753 852 222

Leslie Hill, Chief Executive Officer

Steve Cullen, Chief Finance Officer

 

Buchanan                                                                               Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5163

Giles Stewart                                                                         record@buchanan.uk.com

Victoria Hayns

Henry Wilson

Notes to Editors

Record plc

 

Record is a specialist currency manager and provider of currency hedging services for institutional clients. Founded in 1983, Record has established a market leading position as a currency manager. Specifically, the Group has a leading position in managing Currency Hedging and Currency for Return for institutional clients.

 

The Group has four principal reporting lines:

 

-    Dynamic Hedging, where Record seeks to eliminate the impact of currency movements on elements of clients’ investment portfolios that are denominated in foreign currencies when these movements are expected to result in an economic loss to the client, but not to do so when they are expected to result in an economic gain;

-    Passive Hedging, where Record seeks to eliminate fully or partially the economic impact of currency movements on elements of clients’ investment portfolios that are denominated in foreign currencies;

-  Currency for Return, in which Record enters into currency contracts for clients with the objective of generating positive returns; and

-  Multi-Product, where the client mandate includes combined hedging and return-seeking objectives.

Record (LSE: REC) was admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange on 3rd December 2007.

 

This announcement includes information with respect to Record’s financial condition, its results of operations and business, strategy, plans and objectives. All statements in this document, other than statements of historical fact, including words such as “anticipates”, “expects”, “intends”, “plans”, “believes”, “seeks”, “estimates”, “may”, “will”, “continue”, “project” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements.

These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of the Company’s future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause the actual future results, performance or achievements of the Company to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements contained in this document are based on numerous assumptions regarding Record’s present and future business and strategy and speak only as at the date of this announcement.

The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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