Wealth management giant St James’s Place (SJP) has received approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) as it looks to enter the Middle East market with the opening of an office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), International Adviser can exclusively reveal.
This comes two months after IA revealed the firm had been given in-principle approval for a DFSA licence.
Following formal approval and licensing from the DFSA, the Dubai office will form a part of SJP’s Asia and Middle East business alongside existing offices in Hong Kong and Singapore and supports its 2025 strategic objectives. SJP is set to shut its operation in Shanghai later in 2023.
The office will be led by Matthew Deeprose, who has been appointed senior executive officer of SJP Middle East, and will initially have an adviser base of 20 which SJP plans to grow as it establishes a presence in the region. Deeprose has more than 30 years of experience, including 10 with SJP, where he has performed several international roles including chief executive of SJP Hong Kong.
SJP Middle East will focus on offering financial and wealth management advice to both local and expatriate clients with increasingly complex financial needs. The expatriate population in the Middle East now accounts for approximately 48% of the total population as the Dubai government and others in the region have made significant moves to make the business environment even more attractive for foreign investment and workforces.
Iain Rayner, chief operating officer at SJP, said: “Dubai has long established its position as a strategic wealth jurisdiction with immense growth potential. A presence in the Middle East will present a wealth corridor supporting a new generation of internationally mobile clients and this is an opportunity for us to expand our international reach as well as that of the SJP Partnership.”
Deeprose added: “We have chosen to work with the DIFC and DFSA given their reputation as leading regulators for international finance. Establishing our presence in this market is complementary to our businesses in the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore and is instrumental in supporting our growth in Dubai and the Middle East. We look forward to working in partnership with the regulators as we grow our operations, providing high quality, regulated advice to those in the region with complex financial needs.”
Currently, the FTSE 100 company has £153.6bn ($190.1bn, €177.6bn) in funds under management and serves more than 917,000 clients.
In other news, SJP has reportedly kicked off a search to replace chief executive Andrew Croft, according to Sky News.
The Sky News report said that the company was working with headhunter Russell Reynolds Associates on the search.
Croft has worked for St James’s Place since 1993 and served as chief financial officer between 2004 and 2017. He took over as chief executive in 2018.
The report said there was “no rush” to find a new chief executive, and that a transition to a successor could take more than a year.
A spokesperson for SJP told IA: “As part of long-term succession planning, the board has regular dialogue with search firms to assess and monitor the market. This is in line with best practice corporate governance.”