July 28, 2020 / 6:31 AM / 15 days ago

St. James's Place first-half inflows top estimates, sees momentum building in fourth-quarter

(Reuters) - British wealth manager St. James’s Place (SJP.L) inflows in the first half of the year topped estimates on Tuesday due to a recovery in market sentiment following the coronavirus-led sell-off.

Net cash inflows rose 2% to 4.5 billion pounds in the six months to end-June, higher than a company-compiled consensus expectation of 19 analysts, which was the same as last year’s inflows of 4.4 billion pounds.

Operating profit on a European Embedded Value basis, a key measure of financial performance that reflects expected cash-flows from insurance products, fell 10% to 418.7 million pounds, down from 465.7 million a year earlier. Analysts on average had estimated it at 458.8 million pounds.

“...From what we have experienced so far in July, we still expect new business flows for the third quarter to be similar or slightly lower in terms of value to the level of flows recorded for the second quarter,” said Chief Executive Andrew Croft in a statement.

Croft added the firm was hopeful of momentum building through the final quarter when “the country returns from the summer break refreshed and ready for a return to the office”.

Global recession woes, triggered by the coronavirus crisis and a crash in oil prices, led many investors to flee from risky assets in early 2020, but the markets have regained some confidence following stimulus measures announced by major economies.

The asset manager said it would stick with its April decision to withhold around one third of its proposed final 2019 dividend.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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