St James's Place  

SJP boasts a quarter of new chartered planners

SJP boasts a quarter of new chartered planners
 Andrew Croft, chief executive of SJP

Advice giant St James's Place has claimed its advisers accounted for a quarter of all new qualified Chartered Financial Planners last year. 

In its final results published today (February 27) the company said it now had 900 advisers with chartered status, of the 4,271 which work across its partnership. 

In today's announcement SJP said it gained 51,000 clients last year, bringing the total to 733,000, but acknowledged 2019 had been a "challenging year" as its post-tax profits dropped by 15 per cent to £146.6m. SJP has been on the receiving end of much criticism in recent months over the incentive structure embedded in its business.

Despite this the advice firm reported "record" funds under management of £117bn last year, up from £95.6bn in 2018, and paid a final dividend of 31.22p per share at an increase of 5 per cent on last year. 

Chief executive Andrew Croft said profit had been impacted by more "modest" gross flows relative to planned investment in the business as part of growth targets.

He added: "The fundamentals underlying the business remain strong and over time, increasing funds under management will generate increased returns. 

"The parliamentary majority following the December 2019 general election provides for longer-term political stability, which has translated into improved investor sentiment.

"This has consequently resulted in an increase in activity across the business with new investments seeing a return to good growth in the early part of 2020."

Following last year's criticism the company also moved to make assurances "recognising achievement and bringing advisers together" was an important part of how it operates. However, it confirmed its review of remuneration structures at the firm was ongoing. 

SJP said: "It was clearly disappointing when some aspects of our culture were subject to criticism last year, particularly in relation to way in which the partnership is rewarded.

"Recognising achievement and bringing advisers together to provide development and networking opportunities remains an important part of how we operate, and indeed it is an essential way of strengthening culture in what is a geographically widely dispersed partnership.

"Whilst we do not believe that the criticism we received is reflective of our community as a whole, we continue to review all aspects of partnership recognition and remuneration to ensure they remain appropriate in today's world and we will continue to further develop our approach in this area in 2020."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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