St. James's Place share price: dividend hiked as profit climbs

Company ‘disappointed’ with £20m FCA levy

St. James's Place share price: dividend hiked as profit climbs

St. James's Place Plc (LON:STJ) today reported results for the six months ended June 30. The company revealed strong half-yearly performance, which enabled it to hike the interim dividend by 20 percent, despite the “ backdrop of a volatile market”.

The company reported that assets under management grew to £55.5 billion, up from £47.6 billion for the first half of 2014. St. James's Place also said that client retention had strengthened, and net inflows in funds grew to £2.7 billion, as compared with £2.4 billion last year.

More importantly, the company saw profits climb, reporting an underlying post tax cash result of £84.9 million, up from £78.5 million. Earnings have grown despite a significant increase in the FCA compensation levy, which nearly trebled to £20 million. The company noted that excluding the impact of the increase in the levy, the group’s result would have been 22 percent higher.

“Disappointingly, our profits have been impacted by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy, which has almost trebled from £6.9 million to £20 million,” chief executive David Bellamy commented. “Despite this significant cost, the sustained growth and maturity of our funds under management continues to provide growth in the underlying post tax cash result and the Board has declared a 20 percent increase in the interim dividend to 10.72 pence per share.”

Despite the dividend hike and generally positive results, the company’s share price had inched 1.10 percent lower to 947.50p as of 10:33 BST today, though the stock is still up more than 22 percent year-on-year.

Alongside results, the company also announced the acquisition of Rowan Dartington Holdings Ltd, a group that specialises in discretionary investment management as well as a range of stockbroking services.

In addition to securing a footing in the discretionary fund management (DFM) market, “this acquisition will provide our Partners with the ability to meet a wider set of clients' investment needs including the management of existing portfolios and direct equity ownership”, St. James's Place said in today’s statement.

As of 10:52 BST, Wednesday, 29 July, St. James's Place plc share price is 946.25p.

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