October 23, 2018 / 6:13 AM / a year ago

Wealth manager St. James's Place slumps on slowing growth

LONDON (Reuters) - A slowdown in quarterly growth at British wealth manager St James’s Place (SJP.L) took the shine off a 4.1 percent rise in total funds under management to a fresh record, sending its shares lower on Tuesday.

St James’s Place, which provides face-to-face advice on investments, pensions and tax, said it had continued to see strong demand for its services despite a tough market backdrop that saw investors pull funds from a number of money managers.

Total funds under management rose to 100.6 billion pounds , buoyed by net inflows of 2.5 billion pounds and investment gains of 1.5 billion pounds, although growth in gross flows into its investment and tax-free savings products slowed from the prior quarter.

“There has been a very slight - 3 percent - miss to gross flows consensus, but we believe that this is in part due to the very tough comparator from last year combined with the state of the market - SJP isn’t immune,” Panmure Gordon analyst Barrie Cornes said in a note to clients.

At 0752 GMT, shares in St James's Place were down 4 percent, the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 .FTSE.

Chief Executive Andrew Croft said the company had performed well given broad market jitters on the back of rising geopolitical worries, and it remained on course to meet its medium-term objectives.

Over the third quarter, the FTSE 100 .FTSE index of leading British shares fell 1.7 percent. Since then, it has fallen a further 6.9 percent.

“There remains growing demand for high-quality financial advice, notwithstanding the current macro and geo-political uncertainty,” Croft said.

At the end of September, 22 percent of SJP’s funds under management were invested in U.S. equities, with 19.5 percent in fixed income and 18.7 percent in UK equities, it said.

Reporting by Simon Jessop, editng by Sinead Cruise and Kirsten Donovan

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