French asset manager Amundi's flows bounced back in the fourth quarter, boosted notably by treasury products, a recovery that did not however compensate a drop in assets under management during a "difficult" year marked by weak markets.
Asset managers, whose portfolios expanded during the COVID pandemic, have seen their flows trickle out in 2022 as the war in Ukraine, soaring inflation and interest rates shook up markets.
Net inflows came in at 15 billion euros ($16.08 billion) in the last three months of the year, compared with 12.9 billion euros of outflows in the third quarter.
"The inflows in the last quarter were consistent with the evolution of the market," Chief Executive Valérie Baudson said in a call with journalists.
"Our clients concentrated on less risky investments, which is more than legitimate in the environment of macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties that we experienced during this period."
Europe's largest fund manager reported assets under management at end-December of 1.90 trillion euros, down 7.7% from a year earlier.
Amundi, controlled by French bank Credit Agricole, said that while markets rallied at the beginning of 2023, the overall mood remained relatively prudent.
Falling energy prices, a slowdown in inflation in most economies, an unexpectedly resilient euro zone economy and China's economic reopening have recently lifted markets, but global growth is expected to slow down this year, according to forecasts by international financial institutions.
Strong performance and management fees as well as cost control helped it bring its adjusted net income to 303 million euros, a 7.5% increase from the third quarter, Amundi said.
The firm kept a positive outlook concerning business opportunities in China, where its joint venture with the Bank of China posted outflows of 3.9 billion euros in 2022 as it could not renew or launch products due to protracted COVID-19 lockdowns.
"We remain confident about the development potential of China in general and of this partnership in particular," Amundi's Deputy CEO Nicolas Calcoen told journalists.
Amundi proposed a stable dividend at 4.10 euros per share.
($1 = 0.9330 euros) (Reporting by Dagmarah Mackos, editing by Silvia Aloisi)