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St. James’s Place plc Another good set of results despite challenging market conditions

St. James’s Place plc (LON:SJP), the wealth management group, today issued an update on new business inflows and funds under management for the twelve months ended 31 December 2018.

· Gross inflows of funds of £15.7 billion – up 8%

· Continued strong retention of client funds – 96%

· Net inflow of funds of £10.3 billion – up 8%

· Group funds under management of £95.6 billion – up 5%

· Qualified advisers 3,954 – up 8%

Andrew Croft, St Jame’s Chief Executive, commented:

“Against the particularly difficult market conditions that prevailed in the final quarter and compared to an exceptional outcome in 2017, I am pleased to report another good set of results that demonstrate the resilience of our business. However, our clients and advisers are not immune to such external market factors and, whilst the quarter began strongly, inflows weakened in the final two months resulting in gross inflows for the fourth quarter of £3.95 billion. This was a robust performance, though slightly lower than our record fourth quarter last year, and resulted in full-year gross inflows of £15.7 billion, which represents growth of 8% over 2017.

The continued strength in retention of clients and their investments resulted in net inflows of £2.6 billion in the final quarter and £10.3 billion for the year, an increase of 8% over the previous 12 months and equivalent to 11% of opening funds under management. Total funds under management were negatively impacted by lower global investment markets, closing the period at £95.6 billion, up 5% since the beginning of the year.

Central to our approach to wealth management is the importance we place on building and maintaining long lasting relationships with, and between, our Partners and clients and serving them well. We continue to see a growing demand for advice and believe the strength, quality and growth of our own dedicated team of advisers affords us key competitive advantage. It is therefore particularly pleasing to report a further 8% increase in the number of qualified advisers working across our Partner businesses, which takes the total to 3,954. This sustained momentum in adviser recruitment underpins our growth aspirations.

While challenging market conditions, like those currently being experienced, will slow the pace of fund inflows from time to time, the fundamentals of our clients’ financial planning requirements remain unchanged. I firmly believe that, with continued focus on achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients through the provision of trusted face-to-face financial advice and our distinctive investment management approach, we remain extremely well placed to continue to grow our business in line with our objectives over the medium term.”