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Lean markets expected to trim sales staff at St James&#39s Place

St James&#39s Place Capital says it expects a drop in adviser numbers this year as its sales staff struggle to meet targets in the tough market.

Applications for jobs at St James&#39s Place in the first half of this year rose by 63 per cent compared with last year but the firm says the total number of its partners is likely to fall as underperformers leave.

SJPC says 42 per cent of applications were from IFAs.

The firm&#39s results to June 30 show a 2 per cent increase in partners to 1,127 from 1,101.

Chief executive Mike Wilson says the group has always applied rigid standards which mean that sales staff must bring at least £60,000-£65,000 worth of new business, calculated using new regular premiums and one-10th of single premiums.

He says the company normally has a 90 per cent retention rate of advisers but this may fall to 85 per cent this year.

The interim results for St James&#39s Place show a fall of around a third in unit trust business for the first half of this year, reducing to £106.5m from £157.2m last year. Pension business was down by 18 per cent but protection sales rose by 12 per cent.

Wilson says: “We are currently in a difficult market and the bottom end of the salesforce finds it harder to meet these standards. Clearly, the tougher the market is, the harder it is for the weaker salespeople.”

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