SJP eyes new wealth clients

City A.M. Reporter
WEALTH manager St James&rsquo;s Place yesterday said it would broaden its investment range and style to attract new clients after posting a fall in first-half operating profits.<br /><br />Chief executive David Bellamy said St James&rsquo;s Place was seeking to attract a new breed of clients and was planning to offer absolute return and fixed-income funds for investors keen on capital preservation. The new funds and strategy is expected to be in place within the next 12 months.<br /><br />&ldquo;You are looking at a managing style, which is more about the short term, I guess, and more about taking advantage of the short term,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />St James&rsquo;s, which is 60 per cent owned by Lloyds Banking Group, posted an operating profit of &pound;101m, down from &pound;114.2m a year earlier, but ahead of a market consensus of &pound;98.1m provided by the company.<br /><br />New business for the half year, calculated by adding new regular premiums to a tenth of new single premiums, was &pound;203m, compared with an analyst consensus of &pound;205.7m provided by the company and &pound;220.7m posted in the same period last year.<br /><br />Net inflows grew by 25 per cent to &pound;1bn, helping to counter the impact of weak markets in the last 12 months and bring assets under management to &pound;16.9bn, against &pound;17.2bn a year earlier.<br /><br />The manager said it had retained over 95 per cent of existing clients&rsquo; funds. Bellamy said there was no indication of any change in the stake held by Lloyds, as the parent group seeks a deal for its larger investment management business, Insight. He said: &ldquo;They are embroiled in their own business right now and we are just getting on with SJP. Nothing new.&rdquo;