The way St James’s Place pays its advisers has come under fire in the latest in a series of reports into the firm’s business dealings.
A “Nectar points” style system is rewarding SJP advisers based on every additional pound of assets they generate into the firm, including with foreign trips, dinner invites and other perks, according to The Sunday Times.
The paper says that top SJP advisers have been treated to trips to Venice, St Moritz and Monte Carlo. They have also been rewarded with invites to events with guests including Bill Clinton and Joanna Lumley, as well as high-end jewelry.
A company document the paper says it has viewed alerts advisers that their “standard of living” may fall and their life insurance entitlement may cease if they do not bring enough money in to the business.
They may also have to pay back some of the “transitional payment” SJP gives advisers to help them set up as partners with the firm.
Rank and file
SJP’s 3,400 or so partners manage a total of £75bn for the firm, and are understood by the Sunday Times to be ranked according to their targets from “associate partner” up to “triple partner”.
Generating £1.5m in initial advice fees can up partners’ “productivity bonus” by up to 40 per cent, the paper says.
An FCA spokesperson told the paper: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, firms need to consider if their incentives increase the risk of misselling, including where they are based on fees.”
SJP chief executive David Bellamy said that while the firm ran a “contingent system”, the business was not commission-based, and the “old language” of some company documents was being revised.
Bellamy said: “We reward good performance – good in this context includes all aspects of client engagement, serving them well and delivering their individual outcomes…so, while remuneration and recognition are very important, they are just one part of the whole.”