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SJP positive on academy growth

Financial education cover.jpgSt James’s Place is positive about the growth of its 250-strong academy despite reporting a loss in its advice arm for 2017 earlier this month.

The restricted advice giant posted a loss of £35.4m for 2017, an increase on the £24.8m loss in 2016.

A breakdown of SJP trainees provided to Money Marketing by the group shows future advisers are most often recruited from non-financial services backgrounds both within and outside of the group.

SJP’s academy is split between a paraplanning stream, a partner academy, and the Next Generation Academy, which recruits graduates from school and university, as well as children of current SJP staffers.

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Academy director Jason Flood says: “The training for all individuals, whatever their background, is a combination of self-study, structured learning and pastoral care in the form of mentors and sponsors.  Alongside the technical training, we also focus on the soft skills such as communication, which are so important for today’s financial planners.”

SJP’s partner academy has a two-year programme for career changers looking to build a wealth management business under the group, or become an adviser in an existing practice.

Flood says: “The academy is made up primarily of individuals who have had a previous career in another sector. We provide a bespoke level of support and match the needs of individuals and experienced colleagues from across the business.”

The group’s paraplanning academy stream, which launched in 2016 trains current SJP staffers up to adviser status. Around two-thirds come from a non-financial services background.

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Flood has no doubt all advisers that transition into the partnership are on an equal footing once they enter practice.

He says: “We’ll have spent a lot of time already identifying any strengths and weaknesses and working with them to ensure a steady and seamless transition but there’s no one size fits all approach.”

His comments come on the back of record gross inflows of £14.6bn for SJP last year, which put total funds under management at £90.7bn at the end of 2017.

Adviser numbers as of 31 December 2017 sit at 3,661 while chief executive Andrew Croft said the group will boost adviser numbers in the academy by 250 this year.

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