St James's Place  

SJP's growth slows amid 'challenging' market

SJP's growth slows amid 'challenging' market

St James's Place has reported an increase in profits despite 'challenging' external market factors, but admits inflows have been offset by weaker investment markets.

The wealth firm published its annual results this morning (February 27) in which it announced pre-tax profits of £211.9m in 2018, an increase of 14 per cent from £186.1m the previous year.

Despite the increase SJP's growth had slowed somewhat significantly since 2017, in which it saw profits increase by nearly a third after seeing record inflows.

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Andrew Croft, chief executive at St James's Place, acknowledged 'challenging external factors' that were not within the company’s control and the pace of fund flows had 'moderated' compared with last year.

But he said: "It is pleasing to see a recovery in the global stock markets at the start of 2019 which, together with on-going net inflows during January and February have, at the time of writing, taken our funds under management to some £102bn.

"The business continues to perform well relative to the industry."

SJP's funds under management grew to £95.6bn last year, up from £90.7bn in 2017. 

Mr Croft said 2018 had proved to be a challenging year for investors but noted markets had posted a strong first month of this year.

Mr Croft said this recovery had been reflected across all of SJP's portfolios, which he said reflected a growing belief that initial global growth fears had been "overdone". 

He said: "Irrespective of any future short-term volatility, we remain confident that our investment approach will continue to support clients in realising their long-term goals." 

The wealth firm proposed a final dividend of 29.73 pence per share, making for a full year dividend of 48.22p per share, at a growth of 12.5 per cent.

SJP now has 3,954 advisers, an 8 per cent increase over last year as 293 advisers joined the company in line with its growth targets set last year

Mr Croft attributed the growth to a combination of the company's recruitment channels and adviser academies, in which it invested £10m last year. 

Mr Croft added: "Looking ahead, we will continue to seek to attract high-quality, experienced advisers to the partnership as we cement our position as a 'go to' place for successful financial advisers through the commitment we make to supporting their clients and their businesses." 

Mr Croft said SJP intends to enrol 14 new cohorts to its academy and graduate 170 advisers in the the partnership this year.