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Any client, any size: Bellamy’s commitment at SJP

The chief executive of national wealth management firm St James’s Place said that too much focus on the perceived advice gap that is growing after RDR is missing the point that people are not saving enough.

He said: “Focusing on what we can do to close up the advice gap is misplaced perhaps: we need to see what we can do as an industry to close the savings gap.

“Advisers have a role to play in facilitating that. Even flowers need brokers - you need intermediation to encourage and persuade people to put more away for their retirement.

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“The banks have closed their doors to face to face advice and other advisory groups have said that unless you have, say, half a million to invest then they can’t help. But other advisory groups such as ourselves are still working with smaller clients and this is where the value can be added.”

He cited strong customer referrals and growth in the number of clients since RDR down to the fact that SJP does not focus just on the most wealthy.

Mr Bellamy added: “If people want us to help manage a £20,000, £200,000 or £2m portfolio, we will be open to that. We believe in the building of a relationship and sometimes that starts with a small Isa or small pension contribution. That is the way we have been building up our business.

“We see that some disenfranchised consumers might go down the DIY route but we don’t believe in that. We think people do want to deal with a human being, face to face or over the phone. That is our market.”

His comments came as St James’s Place announced that it has seen a strong set of numbers for the third quarter this year.

According to a statement, its new business sales rose by 23 per cent year on year to £203.6m, beating analyst expectations from JPMorgan Cazenove of £187.9m

Funds under management hit a record £41.8bn following a 5 per cent increase in assets in the past quarter. While its pension business dipped slightly, it has seen £1.1bn net inflows over the third quarter, helped by positive market movements which saw AUM rise 2 per cent.

In the three months to September 30, the wealth management firm saw a net inflow of funds under management of just more than £1bn, up on the same time last year but consistent with the first six months of 2013, where net inflows were £2bn.