Hodge reports record results

Hodge Bank, which specialises in commercial and later life lending recorded pre-tax profits of £22.8 million, driven primarily by excellent new business and fee levels in commercial lending.

Net interest income rose by 97% to £13.2 million and net operating income from trading activities rose by 86% to £14.3 million.

Hodge Life Assurance Company, which offers equity release and annuities under the Hodge Lifetime brand, made £27.4 million pre-tax, resulting from strong trading underpinned by a significant increase in pension annuity new business premiums which were 61% up on the previous year.

Group total assets exceeded £1.9 billion at the end of the financial year.

Keith James, Chairman of both companies said:

“It has been a tremendous year. Following the business’ move to One Central Square last September, and its rebrand to trade under the Hodge name, the group’s result has been underpinned by a record performance in both of our main businesses, and we have created a very strong platform for future growth”

David Austin, Group Managing Director noted:

“We are very proud of our 2016 results, and I’m grateful to our staff who have played an important part in this achievement. Nevertheless, we enter 2017 with a degree of caution.

The adoption of a new financial reporting regime has meant that market factors such as interest rates and house prices have a much greater influence on the reported outcome than previously, and whilst the effect has been favourable in 2016, our results will inevitably be more volatile in future.

However, the fundamentals underpinning our business remain strong and I have no doubt we can deal with the vagaries of market movements as they occur.”

The success of the Hodge group has enabled dividends to be paid to The Hodge Foundation, a charity supporting welfare, medical, academic and religious causes which owns 79% of the Hodge group.

By helping its customers to achieve their goals and being successful in its own right, the group assists the Foundation in meeting its charitable objectives.

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Hodge sponsors Snowdogs Tails in Wales – Farewell Weekend

The event was organised by public art producers Wild in Art and Penguin Ventures and is inspired by THE SNOWMAN™ AND THE SNOWDOG, the animated sequel to Raymond Briggs’ iconic picture book and film THE SNOWMAN™. The Farewell Weekend is the chance to say goodbye to the 43 super Snowdogs and 57 loveable pups. They’re being gathered together before being auctioned to raise funds for Ty Hafan. As well as being the last chance to see the 100 Snowdogs together, the event will feature children’s entertainment and crafts, and a limited edition Snowdogs souvenir guide and gifts will be available. Hodge is delighted to contribute to the campaign, and support Ty Hafan raising money for children with life-limiting conditions. David Austin, Managing Director says ‘We’re a proud Welsh business based in the heart of Cardiff. Anthem and Pop Pup are on our doorstep, and with the other Snowdogs around the city they’ve created a real buzz. Doing the right thing is important to us as a business and we’re thrilled to be associated with the Farewell Weekend’. Sara Webber, Associate Director, Events, Gifts, Brand and Media at Tŷ Hafan, said: “We’re so grateful for Hodge’s generous sponsorship of our Farewell Weekend, where Snowdog fans will get the chance to see all our colourful canines together under one roof for the last time before they are sold to raise vital funds for Tŷ Hafan.” The event takes place from 8<sup>th</sup>-10<sup>th</sup> December in the Capitol Centre, Queen Street, Cardiff, and all profits from the Farewell Event will support the work of Ty Hafan, the hospice for children in Wales.

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New CEO appointment at Hodge

  Steve was previously CEO of Shawbrook Bank, where he led the company for almost three years. During this time it continued to achieve strong double-digit growth in balance sheet and revenues culminating in the ‘take private’ transaction with Pollen Street Capital and BC Partners. Prior to his role at Shawbrook, Steve led the U.K. banking businesses of Santander and was responsible for building out Santander’s business and corporate banking activities. Before joining Santander, he had a number of senior management roles at Royal Bank of Scotland across its Corporate and Retail Banking Divisions. Steve recently joined Bank of Ireland as a Non-Executive Director; he is Vice President of the Chartered Banker Institute and a member of Council. He also chairs the Advisory Board of Arora Hotels. Commenting on his appointment, Steve said “I am delighted to be joining Hodge as it seeks to build on the strong foundations it has already laid in its retail and commercial banking and life assurance businesses. It has a unique ownership structure and ethos that is hugely attractive in terms of creating a sustainable business that then seeks to support those in the communities in which it operates. As a newcomer to the business, I am looking forward to learning more and to working with the team that has taken the group this far on its journey”. As previously announced, David Austin is retiring from the group after a very successful 28-year tenure, first as Finance Director and for the last 20 years as Managing Director. On his pending retirement David said “The past 28 years at Hodge have been very rewarding and I’m looking forward to my retirement. Before that, I’ll be working closely with Steve to ensure a smooth transition in the New Year.” Adrian Piper, Chairman of Hodge said “On behalf of the Board I extend our thanks and appreciation to David for his outstanding commitment and leadership over almost three decades. We wish him well in his upcoming retirement. We’re delighted to welcome Steve to Hodge and the Board is very much look forward to working with him.”

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The Hodge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Immunology

The new five year partnership will establish The Hodge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Immunology and bring together leading experts in both neuroscience and immunology. The Centre will facilitate collaboration between Cardiff University’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute and Systems Immunity Research Institute under the leadership of their respective directors, Professor Jeremy Hall and Professor Paul Morgan. It’s expected that the virtual Centre’s focus on the immune system will help gain a better understanding of why disabling conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia develop and which factors cause them to progress. “We are extremely grateful to the Hodge Foundation for their generous donation,” said Professor Jeremy Hall, Director of Cardiff University’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute. “Sadly, for many diseases like Alzheimer’s there have been few recent advances in treatment and no new drugs, whilst treatments that do exist are limited and often associated with unpleasant side effects. “However, we do know that changes in our immune system is a factor in the development of brain disorders but more work is needed to explore this fully…” The Hodge Foundation supports medical research, principally in the areas of cancer and mental health, through the provision of grants to universities, medical institutions and research charities. Jonathan Hodge, Chair of the Hodge Foundation, said: “As a Foundation, we are truly proud to support the world leading research taking place at Cardiff University. “We have already seen our support produce tangible benefits in key areas of public health. Now Cardiff’s strengths in both neuroscience and immunology put them in an excellent position to make a rapid step change in their knowledge in this field and open up the hugely exciting possibility of new treatments for patients. “We are delighted to play a part in this.” The £1m donation from the Hodge Foundation will fund a Senior Fellowship which will help attract some of the very best young researchers already working in neuropsychiatric immunology to Wales. It will also fund six Hodge Foundation PhDs, five pilot research studies and seed funding for innovative new ideas. The Centre will also host a series of public lectures. Professor Paul Morgan, Director of Cardiff University’s Systems Immunity Research Institute added: “The link between the immune system and brain disorders has long been suspected and offers the potential for a new route to developing treatments for those at risk of developing these conditions. “The Centre is an extremely important development as it will mean that we have a real opportunity to put the immune system at the centre stage of our understanding…” Major mental health disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia are estimated to cost the UK economy over £37bn per year. They continue to place a significant burden on patients and their relatives through reduced quality of life, increased physical illness and disability, lost employment, discrimination and isolation.

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