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St James’s Place to exploit RDR

The chief investment officer at St James’s Place says the RDR is an opportunity to pick up distribution partners, as investment advisers explore alternative routes for their business.

Chris Ralph, a former partner at Maia Capital, the multi-manager joint venture with Ignis Asset Management that was dissolved last year, says IFAs are considering the firm as a potential partner.

Many advisers have considered merging their business with larger entities given the difficulties of complying with the RDR without the resources of a larger company, including funding to meet the RDR’s requirements for capital, qualifications and research.

“We reckon we can attract other ex-IFAs to our business. Advisers are finding themselves increasingly challenged in giving investment advice,” Ralph says.

Ralph’s statements come after a stabilisation in the wealth manager’s corporate outlook, which will provide an additional boon in its attempt to attract advisers.
Lloyds Banking Group confirmed it would not be selling St James’s Place as part of any required programme of disposals under European Union regulations.

However, the firm also faced setbacks over one of its partners, Primrose Associates – a bankrupt mortgage adviser which left St James’s Place facing a £1.8m compensation bill.

Ralph says the firm will not be taking risky experiments with its model, sticking to its policy of finding external active managers and appointing them to run a widening range of single-manager funds.

Despite developing products at a rapid rate over the past year, Ralph says St James’s Place will stick to its process in tailoring individual portfolios of single-manager funds for clients.

He says he is wary of shoehorning clients into pooled multi-manager funds, passive funds or risk-rated products.The latter assign clients a set asset allocation based on their responses to a psychometric questionnaire – a technique increasingly used by fund houses and financial advisers.

“When I joined I wanted to ensure our proposition was fit for the 21st century. Our model wasn’t broken, but it’s always on a journey. We can’t afford to just remain where we are, he says.

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  1. Yesterday the FSA said the RDR is not playing into the hands of the banks and the likes of St James’s Place.

    Today St James’s Place said otherwise?

    Confused.com

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