By Ian McConnell

SIR Angus Grossart has declared his Edinburgh-based merchant bank looks forward with “confidence and resilience” to another year of “sound progress”, reiterating the importance in uncertain times of “human judgemental qualities and values”, a long-term approach and prudence.

He has offered his view of the current situation in the latest accounts of Noble Grossart Holdings, which have just become available from Companies House.

These show Noble Grossart Holdings achieved a pre-tax profit of £2.738 million in the year to January 31, amid the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

Sir Angus declared the merchant bank had experienced a “satisfactory trading year”, during an “unprecedented and unpredictable” period.

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Noble Grossart Holdings had recorded a pre-tax profit of £66.9m for the year to January 31, 2020. However, Sir Angus had noted in his comments on these previous accounts that this profit reflected “the efforts and knowledge of a lifetime, rather than just the work, or the events, of a single year”.

The merchant bank posted a pre-tax profit of £1.397m for the year to January 2019.

The latest accounts show Noble Grossart Holdings recorded gains on investments of £1.07m for the year to January 2021, compared with £60.184m in the prior 12 months. Investment income was £3.924m in the latest full financial year, compared with £8.336m in the year to January 2020. Fees and commissions receivable rose to £464,000 in the year to January 2021, from £383,000 in the prior 12 months.

The gains on investment figure for the year to January 2021 comprised a £17.878m profit on the sale of investments, a £10.3m decrease in the market value of listed investments, and a £6.51m fall in the fair value of unlisted investments.

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Sir Angus said: “We have had a satisfactory trading year which we finished in a strong and liquid condition. Chairmen’s statements invariably seek, with hindsight, to rationalise the events of the past year, as if they had been expected, and been addressed with prescient intended plans. No one would wisely attempt to make such claims for last year, which was unprecedented and unpredictable in so many ways, and affected all business conditions and decisions.”

He added: “I believe that our strong condition and good prospects do not derive from one year or the annual fluctuations of markets. It reflects our consistent long-term strategy, anchored in prudence, but with a self-challenging and decision focussed approach.

“I underlined last year the particular importance, in uncertain times, of human judgemental qualities and values and the ability to translate complex analysis into decisions and to then instruct action. It is the antithesis of bureaucracy, to which, I hope, we are anthropologically immune.”