Advice after coronavirus: St James's Place


The chief executive of St James's Place has dismissed the idea advisers will see fee pressure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on the FTAdviser Podcast, Andrew Croft said the relatively small number of advisers in the UK compared to other countries meant improvements in efficiency as a result of the increasing use of technology were unlikely to translate into lower fees.

He said: "It is important here just to remember a few important facts: the market is large and growing. The need for advice and help around complexity continues to increase. And I would argue that Covid-19 has probably accelerated that.

"Similarly there is a very large inter-generational transfer of wealth expected in the next decade and the next two to three decades beyond that. And at the end of the day there are simply not enough high quality financial advisers in the UK.

"There are twice as many advisers per capita in both the US and Australia than there are in the UK so I think being a financial adviser is an exciting place to be and if the adviser is making themselves indispensable to their client, not just from a financial point of view but also as a life coach and providing clients with peace of mind, then I am not sure we will see fee pressure."

Mr Croft added that said the FTSE 100 company was not currently seeking to proactively recruit advisers.

He said: "Clearly the [...] slowing down of adviser growth will have an impact on the number of advisers and then potentially on business but equally the other leg is to help people get better and grow their own businesses.

"We are not making many phone calls at this point in time, let's call them outbound phone calls, because that doesn't seem appropriate when the whole country is in a bit of a crisis but we feel confident that if we do the right thing then that will ultimately play well in attracting advisers to come and join us."

Mr Croft said SJP had suspended any new intakes into its adviser academy until the final quarter of this year.

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