Impax Asset Management has named Karen Cockburn as its CFO, replacing the departing Charlie Ridge, who has held the role since 2008. Cockburn was appointed CFO designate in October, and in its full-year financial results Impax announced that the change is to take place in January.
It also reported a “commendable” set of figures in the economic circumstances, according to CEO Ian Simm.
During the 12 months to 30 September, Impax saw its assets under discretionary and advisory management (AUM) shrink to £35.7bn, down from £37.2bn at the end of September 2021.
Though the firm did manage to maintain positive flows into its strategies during the year, the £2.9bn of net inflows was a considerable drop compared to the £10.9bn of the previous year.
The report stated that the majority of the year’s inflows, some 58%, were directed into the Global Opportunities fund, which was driven principally by Impax’s relationship with St James’s Place in the UK, and by new pension fund mandates in Australia.
The inflows only partially offset the £4.4bn that was shaved off the firm’s strategies by market and foreign exchange movements, and investment performance.
CEO Simm (pictured) blamed the “challenging external environment” for the fact that many of the firm’s strategies lagged their respective benchmarks. The environmental markets funds suffered most acutely, as the “quality growth at a reasonable price” investment style came unstuck as market sentiment switched to favour value-oriented stocks, which were to be found in the fossil fuel sector.
The company did manage to grow its dividend over the period, with the board recommending a final payment to investors of 22.9p per share, and a total dividend of 27.6p per share for the year. The total figure constitutes an increase of 7p, or 34%, on last year.
Profit after taxation also increased from £40m to £59m, and cash reserves grew 52% to £107m.
The report went on to add that AUM had recovered to £37.4bn up to 31 October, and the recovery in Impax’s share price has continued since then. While it is down 44% YTD, since the start of November, the share price has rebounded by 16% to £7.93.
Chair Sally Bridgeland said: “Impax has shown the value of its authentic, long-held investment philosophy focused on the transition to a more sustainable economy. The management team has successfully led the business through difficult market conditions, with strong performance against the majority of its key performance indicators. As the team continues to expand, Impax remains committed to preserving its culture, conscious of the challenges of growing quickly in a hybrid working environment.”
On Impax’s future, Simm said: “Asset owners continue to be attracted to Impax’s specialist focus on the transition to a more sustainable economy. We remain confident in our ability to respond to this increased client demand. While continuing to expand our current strategies and develop new products, we have the capacity to significantly grow our assets under management using our existing investment platform.”
In addition, after 13 years on the board, Vince O’Brien has decided to retire as a director, with the move coming into effect at the AGM in March 2023.