Advice giant St James's Place saw £4.5bn of net inflows in the first half of 2020 as it began to recover from a tough first quarter of the year.
According to the firm's latest update its funds under management (FUM) were £115.7bn, as of 30 June 2020, suggesting its clients funds had almost recovered from recent market volatility. The firm's FUM had dropped from £116.99bn at the end of 2019 Q4 to £101.67bn on 31 March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the world's stock markets.
The firm's net inflows in the first half of 2020 were almost identical to the same period in 2019 with £4.5bn compared to the £4.4bn of last year. The story was the same for gross inflows at £7.3bn versus £7.4bn.
As a result of the "unprecedent level of uncertainty" surrounding the pandemic, the firm said after its Q1 results, it decided to cut its 2019 dividend by a third, withholding 11.22p per share due to "heightened regulatory sensitivity".
In SJP's latest results the firm said that, despite seeing steps towards "some degree of normality" there remained significant uncertainty and so would continue to retain one third of its previously proposed 2019 final dividend until the impact of Covid-19 "became clearer". It also said it would make a decision on its 2020 dividend in February 2021.
Its operating profit was down on its £465.7m in the first half of 2019 but remained above the £400m mark at £418.7m for 2020 H1.
The advice giant also received its Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy bill, like many advisers in recent weeks, saying it has "increased substantially and disappointingly" above the 15% increment it had expected at the beginning of the year. The firm said it paid £27.8m towards the industry levy, up from £22.3m for 2019.
Chief executive Andrew Croft said: "We are then hopeful that, as the country returns from the summer break refreshed and ready for a return to the office, and supported by the high levels of client service provided by the Partnership since lockdown, we will see momentum build through the final quarter.
"Overall then, 2020 is set to be another year of major net inflows as our business model proves resilient in a really difficult period. We are more confident than ever that we will deliver growth over the longer term given the strengths of St. James's Place and the dynamics of our market."
Almost 90% of advisers would continue to provide some form of remote advice as an option to clients as the country progresses out of lockdown, according to a survey of Quilter’s advice business.
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