St James’s Place chief was not told of controversial Lloyds sale

THE BOSS of wealth manager St James’s Place was not given advance warning of Lloyds Banking Group’s controversial share sale, he revealed yesterday.

In March Lloyds offloaded a 20 per cent stake in the FTSE 250 firm and pledged not to make any more disposals for a year. But just two months later the bank infuriated investors when it changed its mind and sold another 15 per cent stake.

Chief executive David Bellamy told City A.M. that the second deal, which sent the company’s share price tumbling, was “as much of a surprise to us as it was to the market”.

“We had nothing to do with it, it’s to do with [bookrunner] Bank of America and Lloyds. It was frustrating but we invest in long-term equities and we’re not in this for short-term share price gains.”

The company’s stock has still not recovered lost ground but yesterday’s results show continued growth. First-half profits were up 53 per cent to £90.1m and it continues to attracts substantial new money as investors return to the equity markets.

St James’s Place is now valued at £3.2bn, meaning Bellamy is in with a chance of being a FTSE 100 chief executive in the near future.

“The FTSE 100 has never been a drive for us,” he said. “But it would be a great endorsement – and my mum wouldn’t mind.”