St James's Place  

SJP reveals plans for world domination

SJP reveals plans for world domination

St James’s Place has set out its global ambitions, with plans to build “multi-billion” businesses around the globe.

The FTSE 100 advice firm, which announced chief executive David Bellamy will step down at the end of the year, posted profits of £140m for 2016, a fall from £151m the previous year.

But Mike Gravestock, the company’s international partnership director, said SJP was seeing interest from advisers and investors in its fledgling business in Asia.

At the moment the company, which was ranked number one on Financial Adviser's Top 100 list of Financial Advisers in 2016, has a presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The international division of the business was launched after SJP bought The Henley Group in mid-2014.

While it was originally intended only for expats, SJP has since found a market for its services among local residents.

Mr Gravestock said: “We don’t see any organisation that has the same vertically integrated model that we do out there and is prepared to compete with us in the medium or long-term to acquire that market share.

“Certainly I see the Asian business as growing to the point where it would be making a material contribution to the group.

“It is difficult to define what material is, but I believe it is more than capable of achieving multi-billion funds under management position over the medium to long term.

“As to where else we might end up or what we might end up doing, it is difficult to predict but I would be surprised if in the next five years we have not expanded and made a decision to enter another market, whether that be expat-focused or local market focused.”

Mr Gravestock said the most likely area where SJP would expand next could be the Middle East.

He said: “We have done some research on that so I would say it would be certainly a place we would strongly consider for our next move.”

SJP is not the only British advice firm looking to Asia for expansion.

Benchmark Capital has said the investment it received from Schroders will allow it to offer its services in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa.

The company’s chief executive Ian Cooke said he is already in discussions with companies interested in using Benchmark Capital’s platform.

Meanwhile Hong Kong independent financial advisory firm Convoy has become the biggest investor in digital wealth manager Nutmeg, following a £30m funding round.

Nutmeg said the deal opened “the door to expansion into Asia”.

The original version of this story referred to St James's Place at a FTSE 250 firm. This is incorrect. It is a FTSE 100 firm and this has now been amended.

damian.fantato@ft.com