Investments 

Curtis on why he bought SJP shares

Curtis on why he bought SJP shares

Job Curtis, who runs the £1.6bn City of London investment trust, has revealed the reasons for his decision to invest in wealth manager St James's Place.

Mr Curtis, who has run the trust for more than thirty years, made a £17.6m investment in SJP towards the end of 2018, saying he wanted to invest in a company that was geared less to the performance of the economy and more to that of markets.

The fund manager recently increased the level of debt in the trust in order to buy more UK shares, as a sign of his confidence in the direction of markets.

He said: "There is a lot of uncertainty about the global economy and the UK economy. But St James's Place is not really geared to the performance of the economy, it is more about the performance of markets.

"The St James's Place dividend yield is very attractive at around 5 per cent, and the shares are quite cheap.

"You can see the attractiveness and growth of the advice market by the fact that Lloyds, which I also own, is moving into advice.

"In the era of pension freedoms and the scarcity of firms offering defined benefit pensions, there is a lot of growth to come from the advice market."

Mr Curtis has less than the market average invested in banks, though he holds stakes in HSBC, Lloyds and Barclays.

In its most recent set of results, St James's Place reported assets under management of £95.6bn at the end of December 2018 after seeing net inflows of £10.3bn for the year.

UK equities took a slight hit, with the group having £17.7bn of these types of assets under management, down from £19.3bn in 2017.

However, the group reported a strong retention of client funds at 96 per cent.

The number of qualified advisers at the company also increased to 3,954, up 8 per cent year-on-year.

david.thorpe@ft.com