Berenberg also cut its price target for the FTSE 250-listed firm to 1,496p from 1,530p, with the shares currently trading at 1,466p, down 2% on Friday's close.
Valuation is fair
In a note to clients, the bank's analysts said that the group saw solid profits growth and strong performances from both its asset management and securities businesses, which helped it increase half-year operating profit by 6% to £142mln.
They said: “We initiated with a ‘Buy’ on Close in November 2017 as we felt the market was unfairly punishing the group for its strategy of targeting longer term profitability, maintaining margins and underwriting discipline instead of chasing loan volumes at any price.”
But, the analysts added: “While these results do not change our positive view of this approach, we feel that the valuation is fair, so we downgrade to ‘Hold’.”