Evolution takes gloomy view of outlook

GLOBAL financial markets are likely to remain “awful” for some time to come, the finance director of investment bank and brokerage Evolution Group said.

“It’s pretty awful at the moment. We see it as being awful for some time to come, in terms of liquidity and risk appetite,” said Andrew Westenberger.

Markets have slumped in recent weeks on concerns over the European and United States sovereign debt crises but Evolution said it was well placed to ride out the turbulence by continuing to focus on tight cost controls.

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Mr Westenberger said he expected American authorities would eventually reach an agreement over the US debt position but added that market uncertainty would remain.

“I’m sure there will be some resolution in the US, but I don’t think that will mark the end of the saga.”

Evolution, which has an office in Leeds, also posted a slight rise in first-half profits, with profits for the six months ending June rising to £4.3m from £3m a year earlier.

Evolution has been on the look-out for takeover opportunities over the last year.

It called off talks to buy rival Panmure Gordon last year but earlier this month said it was in advanced talks to boost its wealth management arm by acquiring BNP Paribas Private Investment Management Ltd.

Mr Westenberger said Evolution remained on the look-out for possible acquisition opportunities, especially in the wealth management business.

“If we do have another year of prolonged distress, that will present opportunities,” he said.