Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

IGM Financial ends year on positive note

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Buoyed by a strong Investors Group division and a rebounding Mackenzie Financial, IGM Financial posted positive results for its final quarter of 2013.

The Winnipeg-based financial giant reported operating earnings available to common shareholders for the three months ended Dec. 31 of $198.7 million (79 cents per share), up from $183.2 million (72 cents) for the same period in 2012.

A couple of one-time items, however, knocked net earnings available to common shareholders to $197.1 million (78 cents), down from $202.0 million (80 cents) for the year-earlier period.

Murray Taylor, co-president and CEO of IGM, said he is happy the company was able to deliver earnings of 79 cents per share, just a penny off the analysts' estimates.

"I think the (investment) climate is very good," he said.

Net mutual-fund sales at Investors Group were $59 million for the fourth quarter, compared to net redemptions of $261 million the year before.

Gross sales of mutual funds were up 19 per cent on a year-over-year basis in the quarter, representing the highest sales total for the last three months of the year in the company's history.

"Our client experience was spectacular in the quarter, helped along by the market and investment activity," he said.

Taylor was particularly pleased to see Investors Group's consultant network grow by 155 from October to December to 4,673, the third consecutive quarter of improvement.

"That's the strongest year we've had since 2007," he said.

On the Mackenzie side, net sales of mutual funds for the quarter were $8 million, compared to net redemptions of $543 million a year earlier.

"Mackenzie has more volatility in their sales results because they're dealing with a wider number of advisers. Those advisers work with multiple companies, and they shift their allegiances as time goes on," he said.

IGM posted slight year-over-year growth with net earnings of $761.9 million ($3.02) in 2013 compared to $758.8 million ($2.97) in 2012.

The company's total assets under management sit at $131.8 billion, up from $120.7 billion at the end of 2012.

IGM shares (IGM/TSX) closed Friday at $55, up three cents from Thursday.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2014 B10

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