New business boost for St James’s Place

WEALTH manager St James’s Place announced healthy growth in the three months ending 30 September, with new business of £136.5m, up 30 per cent, on an annual premium equivalent (APE) basis.

Total single investments were also up to £1.1bn from £0.8bn, an increase of 32 per cent on the same time last year. St James’s Place now has £24.8bn under management, after seeing an inflow of £700m in the quarter, an increase of 11 per cent. Funds under management have doubled over the last five years, said the firm. The group says that it continues to retain 95 per cent of clients’ funds.

David Bellamy, the chief executive, put the results down to healthy global stockmarkets over the last few months, and also “the increasing breadth of our investment offering and the strength of our distribution.”

He added: “Although the outlook was uncertain earlier in the year, 2010 is proving to be a very successful year. While we are up against tougher comparatives in the short term we remain confident in our ability to deliver average new business growth within our 15-20 per cent per annum range over the medium term.”

The wealth manager, which was founded by Jacob Rothschild and Mark Weinberg in 1991, said that it is continuing to develop its range of funds such as the one that it recently launched with fund manager Artemis.

The results were in line with forecasts and analysts wondered if it spelled the end of a period of rapid growth for St James’s, as the APE number was lower than in the last three quarters.

In a note, Numis’s David McCann said that: “Productivity is beginning to level out rather than continuing to grow significantly.” It estimated growth for the fourth quarter of 11 per cent and 16 per cent for next year, just inside the company’s target range.

St James’s Place, which is 60 per cent owned by Lloyds Banking Group, saw its share price close down 4.90 per cent at 263.90p, well below its year-high of 298p.