Are M&G shares a good investment?

M&G shares are down 25% since going public in 2019. However, the company is still hitting its targets. Does that make it a good investment?

by | Last updated 16 Aug, 2023 | Financials

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M&G Plc (LSE:MNG) shares have gone through some real volatile periods since listing on the London Stock Exchange. The stock reached a high of 254.30p and a low of 84.12p. At its current price,  the stock is down over 6% from its listing price.

The group first went public in the United Kingdom on the London Stock Exchange back in October 2019. Since then, shares haven’t exactly performed well, falling by nearly 25%, significantly behind the FTSE 100 index. However, the stock has recovered some of its last grounds as it has moved from 25% down to barely 6%. 

Are the tides changing for this investment management company? Does it create a buying opportunity for my portfolio? And if so, are M&G shares a good investment?

What does M&G do?

M&G is a global investment management company based in London. It was formed as a demerger from Prudential Plc as the latter refocused its target market to Asia and the United States.

The company invests in and manages a wide range of financial assets and investment vehicles, including:

What’s more, management also delves into the realm of the private finance sector through various instruments, including:

  • Structured Products
  • Leveraged Finance
  • Projects
  • Infrastructure Finance

M&G has two primary operating divisions: Asset Management and Retail & Savings. These, in turn, operate under numerous brands, including:

  • PruFund
  • M&G Wealth
  • M&G Investments
  • M&G Real Estate
  • InfraCapital

In total, this enterprise is present in 28 markets across five different continents, with over 5,590 employees worldwide. But how do the fundamentals of M&G shares look today?

Financial performance of M&G shares

After splitting from Prudential, the management team set itself an ambitious target of reaching £2.2bn in capital generation within three years.

During 2020 and 2021 combined, the group hit £2.8bn in total generated capital placing well on its way to hitting this goal. And despite what the recent trajectory of M&G shares would suggest, this strong performance seems to have continued into 2022. So much so that management just raised its 2024 capital generation target to £2.5bn.

Another goal laid out in the early days was consecutive year-on-year dividend growth. And even with the disruptions of the pandemic, this is exactly what the company has delivered so far. In fact, since its initial listing, the group has returned £2bn to investors through both dividend payments and share buybacks.

M&G Plc 2022 results

Following the trends set in previous years, the company had a strong performance in FY 2022. Here are some of its results that are worth noting.

  • M&G reported positive net client flows in Asset Management and Wealth in a year of significant market uncertainty.
  • The company returned nearly £1bn to shareholders through dividends and share buy-back.
  • M&G plc launched a transformation programme to drive simplification, unlock growth and deliver £200m in cost savings.
  • The shareholder solvency II ratio was 199% compared to 218% in 2021.
  • Adjusted operating profit was £529m compared to £721m in 2021.

However, it’s worth noting that 2021 was an exceptionally good year for financial institutions and the stock market in general. As such, it’s not a particularly meaningful comparison in my eyes. What’s more, profits continue to be hampered by restructuring costs of £64m. Although that is down from the £85m booked a year ago, which is an encouraging sight, I feel.

M&G Plc Q1 2023 Results

Looking at its Q1 2023 Trading Statement, M&G reported strong performance across its institutional, wholesale, and PruFund business segments. Consequently, its Wholesale Asset Management department returned to positive growth, with a net client inflow of £1bn in Q1, while the shareholder solvency II ratio hit 200% amidst continued volatility in the financial market.

In other words, the company has more than enough cash flow to cover its long-term financial obligations, significantly reducing the risk of a stock bankruptcy.

The business reported a Q1 net client inflow (excluding Heritage) of £0.4bn, with the group AUMA movement hitting  £344bn. There was an increase in the latter figure versus the £342bn reported in 2022.

However, it’s worth noting that 2022 was a good year for the business of M&G,  as such, the company’s performance for Q1  is quite progressive as it is leveraging on its strong fundamentals achieved in 2022. What’s more, in Q1 2023,  net inflows are optimal at the various segments of the company. Wealth and Other Retail & Savings delivered net inflows of £0.3 billion, driven by strong investment performance.

While the profitability of FY 2023 may be difficult to discern, the group’s products seem to be performing in line with client expectations. In fact, between January 2023 and March  2023, PruFund volumes had further accelerated with gross inflows of £1.6bn.

Meanwhile, 68% of our mutual funds ranked in the upper two performance quartiles over one year and 75% over three years as of March 2023. 

Needless to say, this is all rather positive. And provided the group can continue to make solid financial and operational progress, then today’s lower valuation certainly makes M&G shares look like they’re trading at a discount. However, there are some risks to consider first.

What are the main risks?

Management’s ability to hit its promised milestones is an encouraging sight and signals talented leadership. But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee long-term success.

It’s important to point out that as an investment services business, the company is highly dependent on client inflows of capital. And since most individuals keep their investments on a short leash, foolishly or otherwise, it can create some severe problems for M&G shares if the company’s funds fail to meet client expectations.

This threat is only exacerbated by the vast amount of competition within this industry. After all, if M&G’s funds can’t deliver, there’s very little stopping a client from jumping ship to a competitor’s fund.

That means the company has to attract and retain top-tier investing talent that can be quite rare and expensive to come by.

I’m also not too fond of the group’s dividend policy. While I do love the prospect of my portfolio generating passive income through dividends, I am wary of companies that sacrifice growth to do so. And when looking at M&G shares, that’s the impression I’m getting. After all, management has so far returned the equivalent of 35% of the group’s market capitalisation back to shareholders.

If the group can’t expand operating profits meaningfully in the near future, maintaining this level of payout will undoubtedly be challenging.

Should I invest £1,000 in M&G shares right now?

All things considered, this business seems to be in a fairly strong financial position. But how does the valuation look?

From a price-to-earnings PE ratio perspective, M&G shares trade at a whopping multiple of 60. That’s pretty high, considering the UK stock market average is usually around 12 to 14. But as I mentioned earlier, profits are being hampered by restructuring costs. So, this may not be the best valuation metric to rely upon.

What about the price-to-book PB ratio? This is where things start to get a bit more reasonable, with the group trading at a 0.96 multiple. That’s lower than some of its rivals and peers, suggesting the stock is potentially undervalued.

So, does this mean I’m looking at a golden opportunity to buy M&G shares?

Maybe. But it’s not one I’m interested in capitalising on. Personally, I feel there are far better investment opportunities elsewhere for my portfolio, which seem lower risk.

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Prosper Ambaka does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Money Cog has no position in any of the companies mentioned. Views expressed on the companies and assets mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the opinions of analysts in The Money Cog Premium services.

Written By

Prosper Ambaka, Esq.

Prosper is a self-taught financial analyst and investor with years of experience. Inspired by Benjamin Graham, he employs a value-investing school of thought throughout his analyses. This has led to Prosper developing a wealth of knowledge in equities, foreign exchange, commodities, and global macroeconomic issues.

In 2019, he completed his Law degree and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2021. Outside The Money Cog, Prosper encourages others to join the investment community through his lectures on financial literacy as well as investing strategies.

Current Holdings


Edited & Fact Checked By
Zaven Boyrazian MSc

Zaven has worked in several industries throughout his career, from aircraft factories to game development studios. He has been actively investing in the stock market for the better part of a decade, managing over $1 million across multiple portfolios.

Specializing in corporate valuation, Zaven employs a modern take on the principles set out by Benjamin Graham to find new opportunities at fair prices.

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