A St James’s Place partner has hit back at press coverage of the firm’s fees.
In a letter to clients seen by Money Marketing that accompanied SJP’s winter magazine, a Winchester-based adviser, who is remaining anonymous, says his firm had been “disappointed” about the appearance of articles in outlets including the Sunday Times that criticised the firm’s charges and transparency.
The Sunday Times article referred to a retired solicitor, Arnold Rosen, who claimed he could not work out what he had paid to SJP during six years as a client.
According to the Sunday Times, Rosen’s fund grew from £280,000 to £391,490 over the six-year period, during which time he paid a total of £36,119 in charges.
The SJP partner writes: “In the 25 years that St. James’s Place has been established, our distinctive approach to wealth management has been recognised by both our industry peers and our clients. So we were very disappointed with an article published in a January edition of The Sunday Times which focused on our pension charges.
“Contrary to what the article suggests, full disclosure of charges was given to the client, both when the investment was made and prior to subsequent withdrawals. The impact of charges is significantly overstated, while the investment returns received by the clients are understated.”
They add: “As you will know from your own experience of working with me, we have consistently supported total cost disclosure.
The SJP adviser then asks clients to contact them if they have any issues with charges after reading press coverage.
An SJP spokesman says: “Each year SJP writes to all clients with the details of their investments with SJP and seek their feedback. The latest client survey showed 99 per cent of clients who responded (over 10,000 so far) believe SJP offers reasonable, good or excellent value for money, with 82 per cent in the higher categories. Further, 97 per cent told us that they would refer SJP to someone else, with 58 per cent having already done so.”
He says all SJP partners were sent an internal note following the Sunday Times article, and the letter seen by Money Marketing appears to have been drafted based on this memo.