St. James’s Place released their half yearly results yesterday and the market responded by marking up their shares 5%. The results told us that SJP had added nearly £10bn to funds under management and that operating profit had shot up. All that held back net profits for the period were larger than expected contributions to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and exceptional costs of training its advisers.
There is a snobbery within the financial services community over SJP that I find distasteful. Independent financial advisers who complain about the shortcomings of SJP’s restricted advice model should remember that their costs are being subsidized by SJP’s FSCS payments and their future advisers are being trained in the SJP academy.
Journalists and pension professionals who complain about SJP’s high charges should remember that SJP’s customer satisfaction ratings (including independent research from Boring Money) consistently point to the strength of relationships between SJP partners and their clients.
SJP manages the wealth of Britain’s mass affluent and along with Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell and a handful of other fund platforms are the means by which many financially fortunate families manage their later life platforms. It is these firms, not workplace pensions , who have risen to the challenge of converting pots into pensions and they are succeeding because of the decline of the company pension.
There are lessons that the PLSA and other pension trade bodies should think about. SJP can teach us a lot about managing other people’s money.
When Robert Gardner announced that he was taking responsibility for SJP’s fund offering, I was initially a little sniffy. But Rob is surely right to claim on this linked in profile
I believe that investing the £100+ billion in clients assets can be a force for good. And that clients future wealth and prosperity is worth more in a world worth living in
The challenge to the hegemony of LGIM. State Street and BlackRock comes from SJP’s Director of Investments. Where advice is at hand, fund platforms can be used to engage invvestors in more ambitious strategies that can be a “force for good” We should not assume that SJP has no social purpose, indeed, reading its 2021 funds Value Assessment suggests the opposite.
SJP are managing the risks the pension community have failed to deal with. Their clients recognize this and so should we. It is not good enough for us to sneer, it is for us to find ways to engage and learn from what SJP are doing right. In doing so , we may find ways to solve some of the problems that we have with engaging with the millions of savers that are not natural customers of SJP.
And by integrating rather than ignoring SJP, the pension community may find a way to bridge the gap between institutional and retail investment best practice.
There is nothing wrong with affluence.