SJP to increase academy numbers from 2022

SJP to increase academy numbers from 2022
Andrew Croft, chief executive officer at SJP

St James’s Place said it will be welcoming around 400 new members into its academy from 2022.

At its Capital Markets Day this week (May 26), SJP partnerships director Peter Edwards Partnership said the new intake will represent more than two-thirds of its gross recruitment.

FTAdviser understands that previously the intake was approximately 250 candidates a year across London, Solihull, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Edwards said the academy has delivered more than 680 new partners and advisers to the partnership since its inception in 2012.

Last year's lockdown saw 39 graduates from the academy launch their own advice firms, in what the advice giant hailed as an "immense achievement" in the current economic climate.  

Edwards said: “The strength and maturity of our academy training programme has been developed and refined over a decade.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has allowed us to refresh the academy, and it now delivers enhanced training and development to a broader cross-section of the partnership, unconstrained by geography or intake size.”

The average age of the partnership is 46, against a market average of 58, which the firm said gave it “a 10-15 year advantage over our competitors”.

A new system

Meanwhile, SJP also highlighted the fact that it had implemented and migrated its systems last year, moving hundreds of thousands of clients and billions of funds under management during the global pandemic.

Chief operations and technology officer Ian MacKenzie said the firm “successfully transformed to a new system”, labelling it a "rare event" in UK financial services.

Discussing the technology changes at the FTSE company, MacKenzie said: “Over recent years we have invested significantly in two key world-class systems to underpin SJP in the 2020s - Bluedoor, our system of record, and Salesforce, our system of engagement. 

“Both are bedding in nicely, we’ve seen their resilience and scalability in recent times, and they will be our springboards to sustained scalability over the years to come, as well as the bedrock for powering our digital strategy.”

He said Bluedoor has enabled the company to scale its business even through the pandemic. 

“The recent tax year end demonstrates this: we saw record new business in March - all handled by Bluedoor - with the majority of cases not touching the sides - this is the benefit of automation and straight through processing,” he said.

He went on to explain that “an absolute game changer” for SJP’s journey was its migration last year.

“What’s even rarer is being able to then actually decommission legacy back-office systems - something we achieved during 2020,” he added.

Chief executive officer Andrew Croft also made reference to technology, stating that the company saw “a new and exciting competitive advantage emerging”. 

He explained technology was enabling SJP to limit cost growth to 5 per cent per annum and delivering “greater operational gearing” in the business.

“We see a future of face-to-face advice empowered by technology, and Covid has accelerated this journey,” he said.