St James’s Place profit leaps 70pc

PROFITS at wealth manager St James’s Place grew 70 per cent yesterday, despite the group being hit by a £6.2m charge.

The firm said it had to pay a £4.8m interim levy into the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, resulting from the collapse of Keydata, as well as a £2.4m annual levy charge.

St James’s profits before shareholder tax for the year to 31 December still managed to hit £84.2m, up 69 per cent on a year earlier. Its funds under management hit a record £27bn, up 26 per cent on a year earlier.

The strong results will calm fears that major stakeholder Lloyds Banking Group could sell its 60 per cent holding imminently.

Speculation over a possible disposal arose after the bank said it would dispose of over £200bn of its non core assets within five years. Lloyds has since said it is not looking to sell its stake.

Chief executive David Bellamy said: “While the road to recovery for the UK economy is likely to remain challenging, the need for trusted financial advice is greater than ever.”

Panmure Gordon analyst Barrie Cornes was upbeat on the results.

He said: “Our view is that while there is an overhang from Lloyds’ stake, if there was to be placement of that stake, it wouldn’t be at a huge discount, it would be very small, if a discount at all.”