UPDATE 1-Wealth manager Quilter to sell its international business for $664 mln

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(Reuters) – Quilter said on Thursday it has agreed to sell its international business to specialist life assurance company Utmost Group for 483 million pounds ($664.37 million), as it sharpens its focus on its UK wealth management unit.

The sale comes at a time when the industry benefits from a sharp rebound in funds under management after pandemic-led outflows, thanks to massive government stimulus and vaccination rollouts.

“(The sale) allows us to focus on accelerating our growth and efficiency plans as well as further simplifying and focusing our business around its core UK high net worth and affluent customer proposition,” Quilter Chief Executive Paul Feeney said.

From the start of next year, the company will target net client cash flow growth of at least 6% of assets under management and administration in the medium term, compared to its prior goal of a 5% growth per annum.

It also expects to deliver a standalone operating margin of at least 25% in 2023, and no less than 30% by 2025.

Quilter’s assets had jumped 7% year-on-year to stand at 117.8 billion pounds at the end of 2020, while larger rival St. James’s Place predicted a 50% surge in AUM to exceed 200 billion pounds by the end of 2025.

($1 = 0.7270 pounds)

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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