25th Jan 2024 09:25
(Alliance News) - St James's Place PLC on Thursday assured the market it is "reviewing all elements" of the business, as the Cirencester, England-based wealth manager reported a rise in assets under management in 2023 despite slower net inflows.
St James's Place recently has been under pressure from UK regulators over its fee structure, promising in October to remove penalties for early withdrawals by customers starting from the second half of 2025.
On Thursday, it reported funds under management rose to GBP168.20 billion as of December 31 from GBP148.37 billion a year before. Gross inflows slowed to GBP15.39 billion in 2023 from GBP17.03 billion in 2022 and net inflows to GBP5.12 billion from GBP9.78 billion.
This means net inflow to opening funds under management - a key metric for St James's Place - declined to 3.5% in 2023 from 6.4% in 2022. Retention rate, another key measure, edged down slightly to 95.3% from 96.5%.
In the fourth quarter alone, funds under management increased from GBP158.57 billion on September 30. Gross inflows were GBP3.67 billion, down slightly from GBP3.87 a year before, and net inflows were GBP770 million, down more substantially from GBP2.05 billion.
More positively, St James's Place recorded a net investment return of GBP8.86 billion in the recent quarter, improved from GBP3.18 billion a year before.
"While the need for trusted face-to-face financial advice remains as strong as ever, client capacity and confidence to commit to long-term investment have been impacted by the economic environment and short-term alternatives in the form of cash deposit and savings rates," commented Chief Executive Officer Mark FitzPatrick.
He added: "As we start planning our vision for 2030, I am reviewing all elements of our business to ensure we are fully fit for the future and best placed to keep delivering for all our stakeholders."
FitzPatrick, a former chief financial officer at insurer Prudential PLC, took over as St James's Place CEO in December, replacing Andrew Croft.
Shares were down 8.3% to 620.00 pence early Thursday in London, while the broader FTSE 100 index was slightly higher.
By Tom Waite, Alliance News editor
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