Sales incentives to St. James’s Place advisers have been put under the spotlight again.
Internal documents provided to the Sunday Times including the firm’s Field Management Handbook detail target sales levels for bonuses and overseas conference qualification every year.
These trips have previously included the likes of Venice and Monte Carlo, and the handbook seen by the paper also gives guidance on how advisers can ensure they pay the right tax on the benefit.
The handbook reads: “You will be asked to keep records and submit a log of all business activities undertaken during the..overseas conference, which will assist in reducing taxable benefit…incurred.”
An SJP spokesman says that “the wording that the Sunday Times refer to is not in any current edition of this document”.
The St James’s Place Partnership Handbook, also seen by the paper, details the central pool of funds that SJP collects from advisers for being part of the firm as a proportion of their fees, and how advisers can end up owing SJP interest if they fail to generate enough fees to cover what they owe SJP in any given year.
This is particularly the case when clients leave the firm or reduce investment level – a “reduction or cancellation of business” – or if they have taken out a loan with SJP firm for business purposes, and will incur interest of the Bank of England base rate plus 2.75 per cent.
SJP told the Sunday Times that advisers could top up the central account should they wish, but did not provide a figure for how much its network paid in interest.
An SJP spokesman told the paper: “As is normal in any business trading relationship, our partner businesses have an account with SJP which provides a reconciliation of income and outgoings…Our monitoring and supervision processes take account of the financial position of partner practices to support the delivery of the right client outcomes.”
On the back of the reports, work and pension select committee chair and MP Frank Field called on SJP to “publish a full list of its charges and details of its incentives programme, so savers are not ripped off by a lack of knowledge of what they are letting themselves in for”.