Thursday 30 April 2020 11:54 am

St James's Place trims dividend as first-quarter AUM falls

St James’s Place has withheld a third of its planned dividend after assets under management fell amid the sustained market volatility.

The wealth manager said it was “not immune to how the unprecedented level of uncertainty may impact the operating environment”.

Read more: St James’s Place posts five per cent profit fall as inflows slow

It will withhold a third of last year’s final dividend of 31.2p until the impact of the pandemic becomes clearer.

In February, St James’s Place announced it was raising its final dividend by five per cent.

In a statement today, the wealth manager said: “This prudent judgement will ensure we are able to deal with such scenarios and protect clients, the long-term value of the business, and our proven ability to benefit from the growth opportunity that will undoubtedly emerge on the other side of this crisis.”

Closing funds under management fell to £101.67bn, down 1.8 per cent from the same period last year.

Listen to our daily City View podcast as we chart the economic fallout and business impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief executive Andrew Craft said: “With the escalation of the Covid-19 crisis during March there was a sharp global markets and this negatively impacted our funds under management.”

During the first quarter, St James’s Place recorded a net investment return of negative £17.69bn, with all asset classes suffering.

Despite a dire investment performance, net inflows rose nine per cent from £2.18bn to £2.37bn. The wealth manager recorded £1.56bn in inflows to its pension fund.

Croft said 2020 is shaping up to be “another challenging year.”

Read more: St James’s Place City of London office on sale for £76m

“We have seen from past crises that if we look after our clients, advisers and employees, as well as our wider community, we will be rewarded in the future with increased goodwill, loyalty and retention,” he added.

Shares in St James’s Place are down 3.3 per cent.

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