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RDR Interim Report: St James’s Place fury over proposals

St James’s Place is confident its hand will not be forced into changing business model because it says the RDR Interim Report will not progress in its current form.

The tied wealth manager is furious it is being classed in the same vein as less specialist sales people and says it would be wholly inapprpriate to consider selling simpler products, as suggested by yesterday’s Interim Report issued by the FSA.

St James’ Place chairman Mike Wilson says its 19 external fund manager links gives it broader access to investment products than many IFA firms and says the thought of SJP offering simple products would make no sense for its client bank.

Wilson says: “This is very early days and I think a lot will change after much consultation, to which we would like to contribute. We are all for raising standards in the industry, so we welcome that but we have definite concerns over the understanding of what constitutes advice or sales.

“We offer advice on inheritance tax and pensions to high net worth individuals – these are sophisticated products, not simple ones. I do not think for a moment this will see the light of day – it is incredible to suggest that our advisers are just sales people and that anyone who sells products from the wider market is giving advice.”

Comments (3)

What?

St James Place ‘Associates’ being classeed in the same vein (vain?) as ‘Sales People’.

Like those mucky fellows who used to be with Allied Dunbar, Hambro Life, Abbey Life etc etc? Surely not!!

So, St James Place external links to 19 Fund Managers gives it broader access to Investment Products than many IFA firms? Oh Yeah?

I know Mike Wilson’s a clever chap and a damn good salesman, as of course are many SJP ‘Salesmen,’ but he’s taking the mickey isn’t he?

Good try Mike, but your leopards still have spots.

Gerry Cooper Hall Partners

Paragraphs 3.5 to 3.7 of the FSA document suggest that ‘whole of market’ could be re-defined so the IFA sector might have some challenges in maintaining that all IFAs are advisers, on the FSA definition.

Let’s face it, the only reason that the term adviser is popular is that it sounds better to the average consumer than ‘salesman’. And it’s possible to choose which term to use because most brokers and agents are offering a service which is a mixture of the two There isn’t a test – administered by the FSA or a trade or professional body or anyone else – which you have to pass to show that you are actually giving ‘advice’, a term which is in any case not officially defined.

I suspect that Mike Wilson’s guys are giving better advice than many small IFAs.

John Ellis


I would like respond to the comments made by Mike Wilson and ask him one simple question. Do the clients of St James Place have to buy a product for his Advisers to generate income? I suspect the answer is yes. Therefore if a product must be sold before any income is generated then surely this not giving advice but selling a product…not matter how complex it might be. I genuinely do not know the answer because I do not know their business propostion so a response would be interesting from either Mr Wilson or anybody from St James’s Place.



Jeremy Woodruff DipPFS
Managing Director
Park View Financial Planning Ltd
Riverside Business Park
Riverside Road
Lowestoft
Suffolk

I would add to Mike Wilson’s comments by saying that there are very few IFAs out there who could be categorised under the RDR proposals as “giving advice” that have the same rigorous approach to investment management, that we have at St. James’s Place.
We have retained investment consultants, Stamford Associates, to whom we pay millions of pounds to each year, to select, monitor and make suggestions to the investment committee, as to changes to our contracted investments managers.
How many IFA firms have either the resources, the expertise or frankly the funds under management, to undertake this approach and be able to ask fund managers like Neil Woodford of Invesco Perpetual [who manages approx. £7 Billion for us] to attend quarterly review meetings?
This approach has been in existence since 1992, with the fantastic long term track record this provides, contributing to many awards along the way, latterly the Financial Times Wealth Manager of the year for 2008 and Investors Chronicle Income Manager of the Year 2008. Were the clients that voted for us the sort of clients that have “simple products”.
Also, does this sound like a firm that should be categorised as just selling and not giving advice ? I think not.
(These are my personal views and not necessarily those of St.James’s Place].
Mike Spencer-Phillips Cert PFS, IMC, FInstSMM

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