UK fund manager Ashmore Group Plc reported a small rise in assets in the fourth quarter, helped by inflows into debt products and a recovery in its core emerging markets.

Ashmore said on Thursday assets grew 2.5 percent to $60.4 billion (39.4 billion pound), driven by $500 million of net inflows and $1 billion in positive performance.

The numbers beat a forecast of $59.4 billion from brokerage Numis, which maintained its hold recommendation on the stock.

We still regard EM (emerging markets) debt as a relatively safe place in the short term, in contrast to western debt in a risk off environment, given the generally lower indebtedness and higher real growth rates expected in EM economies, albeit short-term asset class outflow risk remains, Numis said.

Shares in Ashmore were up 1.3 percent at 0805 GMT, against a flat FT-All Share index <.FTSAS>.

A rocky period for emerging markets last year hit Ashmore's asset base and the fees it collects on funds. The group managed $65.8 billion at end-June, before a sharp sell-off in markets which slashed the assets it manages by more than 10 percent.

Performance fees for funds having a performance ending in December were minimal, as anticipated, Ashmore said, which meant overall performance fees for the six months to end-December were around 23 million pounds.

In the same sector Charlemagne Capital said its assets had fallen by more than a third last year after a slump in emerging markets, reducing net performance fees by almost 20 percent for the year.

Dedicated emerging markets funds recorded their second-largest annual historic outflows last year, the company added.

The group now manages $2.3 billion.

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Sinead Cruise)