UK wealth manager St James’s Place (SJP) has reported a rise in profits and funds under management for 2018 despite the weakness in investment markets, boosted in part by growth in its Asia business which saw a jump in adviser headcount and assets under administration.
The firm’s total profits rose 14% on an IFRS basis to £211.9bn ($281.6bn, €247bn) last year, compared to £186.1bn in 2017.
It reported full-year gross inflows of £15.7bn for 2018, up 8% from 2017 while net inflows last year rose by 8% or £10.3bn.
Total funds under management reached £95.6bn at the end of last year, an increase of 5.4% from 2017. The gorwth came in spite of the falls in asset prices across most major markets.
SJP said its compound growth in gross inflows stood at 18% per annum over two, five and 10 years, while the compound growth in net inflows over the same period had been around 20% per annum.
“The financial performance of the business reflects the progression of funds under management, together with the contribution of new inflows in the year, resulting in good growth across all our key financial metrics,” said Andrew Croft, chief executive of SJP.
“It is pleasing to see a recovery in the global stock markets at the start of 2019 which, together with on-going net inflows during January and February have, at the time of writing, taken our funds under management to some £102bn.
“The business continues to perform well relative to the industry. However, challenging external factors, like those currently being experienced, are not in our control and the pace of fund flows has moderated compared with last year.”
Asa result SJP raised it final dividend of 29.73 pence per share, up from 27.45 pence per share in 2017 to give a full year dividend for 2018 of 48.22 pence per share, an increase of 12.5% over the previous year.
Additionally, SJP recorded a higher number of advisers – currently 3,954 – with 293 joining the firm last year, up 8% from 2017.
A similar trend happened in SJP’s Asian business, with 133 advisers joining the firm, helping funds under management to grow to £625m and funds under administration to £1bn.
Croft added that in 2019 the firm will be looking into further acquisitions to increase even further SJP’s reach.