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SJP: Advisers want to join as restricted realisation dawns

St James’s Place chief executive David Bellamy says more advisers are approaching the company to join as they realise they are likely to be classed as restricted after the RDR.

Speaking to Money Marketing following the publication of SJP’s first-quarter results last week, Bellamy says he is pleased with the momentum the company has seen in the number of partners joining but denies this is a result of a concerted recruitment campaign.

Bellamy says: “With the bar being raised for independence, there is a realism among IFAs that they were already operating a restricted model where they had selected their panel or decided which fund managers to work with. There is a realisation that more and more people will end up in the restricted area and that is leading more of those people to talk to SJP.”

SJP’s number of partners rose by 6 per cent in 2011 from 1,552 to 1,649. The latest recruitment figures will be announced in the company’s half-yearly accounts.

Bellamy says he is frustrated at how independent and restricted advice have been defined by the FSA. He says: “Restricted is an unfortunate label that is probably in danger of misleading people. There is nothing restricted about the advice our people give to clients. What gets us into restricted is we have predetermined the number of fund managers on a corporate level. What we do in terms of protection, mortgages, annuities and general insurance is whole of market. But where we have decided to control our investment proposition in terms of fund managers and wrappers, that unfortunately gets us labelled as restricted.”

Bellamy argues that advisers who are considering joining SJP should not reduce their argument to whether they want to be independent or restricted.

He says: “It is more about whether advisers feel by joining us they can do a good job for their clients, with the backing and strength of a company that can help with training, oversight and governance, with technical support from tax experts, lawyers, actuaries and so on.

“If the answer to those questions is yes, maybe that is the sort of business advisers should be working with rather than trying to maintain a perceived independence when their ability to research 2,000 investment funds in the UK is pretty impossible.”

Bellamy questions whether it is logical for an adviser to carry out that level of investment research, including on products such as exchange traded funds and investment trusts, just to be able to say they are “truly independent”.

He says: “I do not think that is a practical place for advisers to be in the medium term. More and more IFAs are acknowledging they do not even attempt that level of research. They are being encouraged to make this very polarised choice as to whether they are independent or restricted when they are currently operating in a way which is fine for their clients but in the new world is going to be referred to as restricted.”

SJP reported a 9 per cent rise in funds under management from £28.5bn to £31bn for the first three months of the year but total new business fell by 3 per cent. Investment business fell by 16 per cent from £87.8m to £73.4m but pension business was up by 15 per cent from £64.3m to £74.2m.

Bellamy attributes the rise in pension business to speculation ahead of the Budget that the Government would make changes to pension tax relief. He says the drop in investment business reflects a more cautious risk appetite among retail investors.

He adds: “I do not read anything into what in my view is a temporary shift between pension and investment business. That was a moment in time caused by a number of factors. Any pick-up in investment business will be driven by an increase in investor confidence.”


Standard Life trust makes manager change

The Standard Life equity income investment trust has promoted Thomas Moore to lead manager on the closed-end fund. Moore was appointed joint investment manager in November 2011, alongside Karen Robertson. The new lead manager had taken on “increasing responsibility for investment decisions” over the past six months. Robertson will continue to assist in the portfolio […]


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There are 14 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. If he is frustrated by the term ‘restricted’ he should become an IFA.

  2. Bellamy says: “Restricted is an unfortunate label that is probably in danger of misleading people.”

    Unlike tied advisers that tell everyone they are “really independent”. SJP are part of the problem, not the solution.

  3. Well Mr Bellamy, that’s what restricted is, and SJP has a restricted model.

    But surely, even if, as an current IFA, you conclude that a restricted model was one you were happy with, and suited your clients and your business, you’d have to be off your rocker to go to SJP?

    Why on earth would you let someone else decide and define the restrictions you are to work under?

    Work out and decide your own restrictions for heavens sake, and retain control! How difficult is that?

  4. they are as restricted as every other wealth manager. the problem the regulator will have with all of this is establishing the restricted vs suitable issue

  5. These charlatans should be denied the oxygen of publicity.

  6. Yawn!

    Same delusional garbage

  7. It’s interesting to see how SJP tried to justify their position on restricting fund choice while also trying to pose as Independent Financial Advisers. It is clear that SJP offer no better service than bank advisers who are also restricted on the amount of fund choice that they can offer.

    As an IFA I am able to give advice not only on all of the products offered in the equity markets but also non-equity linked investments and levy a charge for that advice. This is dramatically different then the service offered by SJP who are only interested in getting funds under management within their platform so that they can charge and associated trail commission or now fee.

    I have no problem with the service that they offer I just wish they would stop marketing themselves as nearly independent financial advisers. I would also ask the company to stop approaching people like myself claiming that they can still work with the legal profession when the law society has clearly banned solicitors from passing on leads to SJP!!!

  8. Exasperated Me 11th May 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I’m thinking of setting up a new firm called Pyramid International Sales Scheme (PI**), it works like Shabby Life, Alhambra Life, Allied Crowbar and St Jippo’s Place in that you recruit someone who can sell to his family and friends and when he/she runs out of prospects he leaves so that the ‘manager’ can take on the ‘clients’. You promise lots of useless ‘C’ class shares and a ‘partnership’ that isn’t worth a bean, that part of the contract is called “Taking the PI**”

  9. Gillian Cardy 11th May 2012 at 4:39 pm

    “A personal recommendation on a retail investment product that invests in a number of underlying investments would not of itself meet the requirements for providing unbiased and unrestricted advice even if the retail investment product invests in a wide range of underlying investments.”
    There : the FSA has gone to the trouble of spelling it out – it’s not your fund choice that’s the problem – it’s the fact that you only have your own company’s products to sell and have no mechanism for advising a client on a more suitable option – but of course there is no more suitable option is there??
    In which case, as they are so good, IFAs should be allowed to introduce business to them – which I am sure we would do if they were as good and cost effective as they say they are.

  10. It seems that there is nothing other financial advisers hate more than another successful financial adviser.

    There is room for all models, nobody has yet acheived perfection.

  11. Sorry… unless things have changed since the last time I was approached by SJP they are not whole of market for protection, as I understand it they have a limited panel of insurers for life cover so although they may be able to offer the best rates most of the time, this is not whole of market

  12. Blobby, blobby, blobby!!

    What did you say Mr Blobby? Was it something about the ‘architect’ of the FSA 1986? One Mark Steinberg, pardon? Sorry Weinberg. What is it you are trying to say?

    Blobby, blobby, blobby!*£££!!

    Oh yes Mr Blobby, he did make rather a lot of money from switching, sorry Mr Blobby, you actually said CHURNING didn’t you.

    Blobby, blobby, blobby!!???

    What was that Mr Blobby? He was second in command at the SIB? Yes that is correct and what does that have to do with this piece?

    Blobby, blobby, blobby!!!!!

    Did you say LAUTRO charges? Yes that is correct, it was a good plan as is this RDR.

    Blobby 😉

    Bye Mr Blobby.

  13. Bellamy completely believes that “There is nothing restricted about the advice our people give to clients.”

    Black must be white after all!

  14. And for pure life cover, what is the point of offering more than the 7 best rates on the market?

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