An interim dividend number 35, being a gross dividend of 11 pence (2018: 11 pence) per ordinary share has been declared by the Investec Board from income reserves in respect of the six months ended 30 September 2019 payable to shareholders recorded in the shareholders' register of the company at the close of business on Friday, 06 December 2019.
Other financial highlights include:
Asset Management generated strong net inflows of GBP3.2 billion, which, together with supportive markets, boosted average assets under management (AUM) and increased adjusted operating profit by 6.3%.
The Specialist Banking business had a sound performance from its lending franchises. The South African Specialist Bank's adjusted operating profit increased by 6.7% (8.5% in Rands). The UK Specialist Bank demonstrated cost discipline, achieving a reduction of 9.1% (GBP25 million) in operating costs. The decrease in the UK Specialist Bank's adjusted operating profit of 18.9% reflects lower investment banking fees in weak market conditions and base effects of a liability management exercise to restructure subordinated debt in the prior period, which boosted prior year adjusted operating profit.
Wealth & Investment generated positive net inflows with growth in AUM supporting higher revenue. An increase in technology spend to support growth over the longer term, as well as higher than expected regulatory levies in the UK, resulted in a decrease in adjusted operating profit of 10.8%.
Group return on equity (ROE) is 13.1% (2018: 14.2%). The group contained costs in a challenging environment and maintained the cost to income ratio at 67.3%. We are committed to improving these ratios.
The Bank and Wealth business remains fully committed to delivering its 2022 financial year targets.