March 7 (Bloomberg) -- The FTSE 100 Index is set to follow U.S. stocks to a record after its best start to a year since 1998, according to Edinburgh’s largest money manager.
“Equities have had a very strong start to the year and I think the level is sustainable,” Keith Skeoch, chief executive officer of Standard Life Investments, said on a conference call with reporters today. “The FTSE will break its all-time record within the next 12 months. The timing is very uncertain.”
The U.K. benchmark has risen 9.3 percent this year and is 7 percent below its high of Dec. 31, 1999. The index has gained less this year than those in France, Germany, Japan and the U.S., where the Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday reached a record, surpassing its previous peak of Oct. 9, 2007. Equity benchmarks in the 45 largest markets are an average 27 percent below their peaks, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Skeoch was speaking after Standard Life Investments posted a 15 percent increase in earnings before interest and tax last year as external customers added money at a faster rate.
Earnings rose to 145 million pounds ($217.7 million) from 126 million pounds a year earlier, insurance parent Standard Life Plc said in a statement today. Funds under management rose 8 percent to 167.7 billion pounds as third-party net inflows accelerated 42 percent to 6.1 billion pounds.
External clients now account for 49 percent of assets, or 83 billion pounds, up from 46 percent at the end of 2011. Most inflows came into multiasset and bond products, with smaller flows into equities and real estate, Skeoch said.
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