Stockbroker Brewin Dolphin has shrugged off the toughest market conditions since the early 1970s and said it is on course for a “creditable” year.

The firm, which manages £20-billion for 130,000 private clients, beat forecasts with a five per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £21.8-million for the six months to March 30.

Total funds under management fell by 8.4 per cent to £23-billion during the period. Chief executive Jamie Matheson said: “These results have been achieved against a background more challenging than at any time since the 1970s. Despite difficult conditions we expect a creditable outcome for the year.”

Brewin Dolphin recently moved its Birmingham wealth management operation into new offices in Colmore Row after more than 10 years at Edmund House.

The interims showed that total income for the period rose by 6.2 per cent to £104.1-million, while basic earnings per share were 4.2 per cent to 7.5p. The interim dividend is 5.2 per cent up at 3.55p per share.

Mr Matheson said the company’s discretionary fund management operation had performed strongly in the first half and yielded a 22.8 per cent increase in operating profit to £11-million

Brewin Dolphin expects a “reasonably stable” full-year performance from its investment management operation, where operating profits increased 14 per cent to £17.6-million.

But Mr Matheson also warned: “As always our principal risk in the short term is the threat of adverse market movement. Clearly, the next few months will continue to be affected by unsettled financial markets across the globe.”

Investment banking profits fell by more than half to £1.1 million in the “very tough” trading environment.

The last company Brewin Dolphin brought to the market was property and construction consultant Cyril Sweett in October last year. The broker added that any “material” activity on initial public offerings was unlikely during the second half of the year.

But Brewin, which has about 1,700 staff, said it was confident in its long-term prospects and would continue to pursue “judicious growth”.

The company suffered a bear raid on its shares earlier this year after warning it faced a tough second half, but the stock recovered by eight per cent to close at 131.25p on Friday.