British wealth manager Rathbone Brothers sounded a cautiously optimistic note for the coming year as it announced robust profit growth during 2011 having steered through months of volatile markets and regulatory uncertainty.

There is not doubt that the uncertainties over Europe persist but these are balanced by indications that the world economy continues to grow and some developed economies are showing small signs of improvement, Chief Executive Andy Pomfret said in a statement.

Rathbones posted a 20 percent increase in underlying pretax profit to 46.2 million pounds for the year to December 31, stripping out exceptional items such as office relocation costs and gains from the disposal of financial securities.

The board has recommended a 29 pence final dividend for 2011, bringing the total for the year to 46 pence, compared with 44 pence a year earlier.

Basic underlying earnings per share increased by 24 percent to 78.79 pence, Rathbones said.

Rathbones shares closed on Monday at 1,290 pence.

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott)