Bellevue Group Shares Drop 11% After Client Withdrawals

Bellevue Group AG fell the most in almost a year after the Swiss brokerage and asset management company reported net withdrawals for 2013 and halved its dividend.

Clients withdrew a net 305 million Swiss francs ($343 million) after outflows of 674 million francs in the year earlier, the Kuesnacht, Switzerland-based company said today. The company proposed dividend of 1 franc a share after 2 francs for 2012, still paying out more than net income.

Bellevue fell 11 percent to 17 francs at 2:04 p.m. in Swiss trading, the biggest intraday decline since March 1. Before today the stock had risen 39 percent this year.

Chief Executive Officer Urs Baumann said the net new money outflow doesn’t affect the company’s main businesses. Bellevue introduced new products and changed the fee structure at its investment company BB Biotech AG to boost revenue this year after commissions and fees, the biggest source of revenue, fell 1 percent in 2013.

“We are not where we want to be yet,” Baumann said at a press conference in Zurich today, adding that Bellevue used the past two years to position itself for growth. The company is also considering acquisitions to expand, he said.

Net income rose to 6.48 million francs from 6.21 million francs a year earlier, as the company cut operating costs by 5 percent. Bellevue said total clients’ money rose to 4.03 billion francs from 3.3 billion.

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