Lloyds looks to sell stake in St James’s Place

David Bellamy 480

Lloyds Banking Group is set to sell its 60 per cent stake in St James’s Place in a bid to raise £1bn and boost the bank’s capital.

The Sunday Times reports the sale has been discussed with SJP’s management, with chief executive David Bellamy (pictured) said to be keen on the move.

The bank’s stake in SJP could be placed with investors in the market before the end of the year, though it may be that Lloyds waits until early next year to allow SJP’s profits to be consolidated in the group accounts.

Lloyds strategy director Antonio Lorenzo is leading the plans to sell the stake in SJP, according to the report, which would reassure the FSA over the bank’s capital position. Lloyds has clashed with the regulator over plans to start paying dividends to shareholders for the first time since the financial crisis.

SJP shares closed on Friday at 398p, valuing the firm at £2bn.

Sources told The Sunday Times a sale was “not imminent” but was being actively considered.

A Lloyds spokesman says: “SJP is a good business that is performing well and we are comfortable with our shareholding.”

SJP declined to comment.

Last week SJP reported funds under management have increased to £32.8bn, from £26.7bn as at September last year. Total new business for the nine months to 30 September rose by 6 per cent from £489.5m to £519.5m.