Steady bond and pensions business but decline in unit trusts for SJP

St James’s Place says it is pleased with its performance in the first quarter of 2008 despite difficult market conditions.

The wealth manager’s pension new business increased 8 per cent across regular and single premium from £40.2m to £43.5m for the same period last year.

Its investment bond business remained static, at £349.2m this year, to the three months ended March 31, 2008.

Unit trust sales were down 11 per cent on last year’s first quarter, from £177.2m to £158.2m, as were protection sales, which fell 6 per cent from £4.8m to £4.5m, which St James’s Place attributes to the slowdown in the housing market.

The group’s funds under management fell 5 per cent over the same period, to £17.2bn and were up 6 per cent over the last 12 months. SJP says is better than global markets, which fell around 10 per cent for the same period.

Total single investments are currently at £759m, in line with 2007.

Chairman Mike Wilson says: “We are very pleased that, despite challenging market conditions, new business is ahead of the same period last year, which was itself up 41 per cent on the prior year.

“We are confident that we will increase our market share in the current year and our new business target remains 15-20 per cent over the longer term.”

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