Having smashed the £150bn ($188.4bn, €177.9bn) funds under management barrier at the end of 2021, net inflows of £2.9bn helped St James’s Place remain above this new high watermark at the end of Q1 2022 even as various headwinds battered markets.
While clients entrusted the UK’s largest wealth manager with £4.7bn in gross inflows, net investment return turned distinctly negative, resulting in a £5.65bn hit to FUM.
SJP ended Q1 with FUM of £151.2bn, down 1.8% from the £154bn at the start of the year. Against the £135.5bn recorded at the end of Q1 2021, however, it delivered strong growth of 11.7%.
FUM at SJP’s discretionary arm, Rowan Dartington, was £3.42bn at the end of the quarter, up from £3bn a year ago. Net inflows were £90m, up from the £80m recorded in Q1 2021.
The Asia business ended the first quarter with FUM of £1.56bn, a healthy increase from the £1.28bn in the same quarter last year. Net inflows of £60m, however, failed to match the £80m reported at the end of March 2021.
Mitigating risk post by higher inflation and geopolitical uncertainty
SJP’s chief executive Andrew Croft said he was “pleased” with the results, which “maintains the momentum developed during 2021”.
“Whilst the landscape was significantly impacted by the tragic events in Ukraine since February, we continue to see high levels of activity throughout the period as advisers and clients sought ways of mitigating the risks posed to long-term financial planning by higher inflation and macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty.”
He added that the results “were broadly in line with the first quarter of 2021, which was an exceptionally strong period for gross inflows as sentiment improved markedly following the start of the covid-19 vaccine rollout in the UK”.
Croft said the “retention of client investments continued to hold at a very strong level and this, coupled with our strong inflows, regulated in annualised net inflows as a percentage of opening funds under management of 7.6%”.
“This was moderated by negative investment market returns in the period, which took funds under management to £151.25bn at 31 March 2022.”