St James’s Place to reduce staff following fall in profit

St James’s Place has a record £129.3bn worth of funds under management

St James’s Place reported a “robust” performance as the wealth management company reinstated its dividend. 

The company’s cash income took a hit as St James’s Place confirmed around 200 jobs will be lost during the pandemic. 

Operating profit fell by £33m to £919m while the underlying cash result was £264.6m against £273.1m in 2019. 

St James’s Place confirmed it now had a record £129.3bn worth of funds under management in 2020, up from £117bn the year before. 

The board confirmed a dividend for 2020 of 38.49p per share. This follows the company’s decision to withhold the final 2019 dividend due to the pandemic. 

An hour into morning trading the company’s share price was up 0.65% to 1,236p per share. Since the beginning of the year the wealth management group has seen just under a 100p rise in its share price from 1,143p on January 4. 

The wealth management group also revealed steps to streamline the business to ensure it is “agile and dynamic” moving forward. The measures to be taken during 2021 will lead to the loss of around 200 jobs. 

Andrew Croft, chief executive of St James’s Place, outlined the company’s strategy during the pandemic.

“Our operations and performance during 2020 were inevitably disrupted by the lockdowns and social distancing. However I am very pleased to report that our business has demonstrated real resilience and made further progress with net inflows of £8.2 billion for the year and funds under management closing at a record £129.3 billion. This outcome was possible because of high client engagement levels, our recent major investment in technology platforms, and the agility of our advisers and employees. Overall, I am very pleased with both our new business and financial results for 2020,” Croft said.

“At the outset of the pandemic the Board made the difficult decision to withhold 11.22 pence of the 2019 final dividend, until such time when the financial and economic impact of COVID-19 became clearer. I am pleased to report that we have not needed to utilise those funds and, whilst the pandemic is still on-going, we now have the confidence to pay this withheld amount as a further interim dividend during the first quarter.”

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