St James's Place to Remove Exit Fees in 2025

The investment manager has said it will remove its early withdrawal charges after coming under regulatory pressure, prompting both celebration and scepticism in the City

Alliance News 17 October, 2023 | 10:21AM
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City of London

Under-fire St James's Place (SJP) will overhaul its free structure amid pressure from UK regulators, removing penalties for early withdrawals, the investment and wealth manager said on Tuesday. The changes to its charging structures are planned to come into effect in the second half of 2025.

In a statement, SJP outlined three components to its new charging structure: replacing the early withdrawal charge with an explicit initial charge on new bond and pension investments; separating charges into component parts; and realigning the component charges.

For the SJP fund range, the charges will result in some charges going up and some going down, but the impact across the range will be broadly neutral, the statement read. The first changes will come into effect in 2024, where charges will change for new and existing investments. The overall structure will change in 2025.

Changes Come after Criticism

Last Friday, SJP said it was reviewing its fee structure, on the same day the Financial Times reported that critics cited "opaque and expensive charges" for financial advice and "stiff penalties" for early withdrawals.

The company said the changes will strengthen its business and underpin its growth ambitions into the future. It expects incurring investment costs of £140 million to £160 million before tax, with £10 million over the rest of 2023 and £95 million in 2024 and the balance in 2025.

Furthermore, it expects a decline in net income from annual management charges in the short term, reflecting reduced and tiered ongoing product charges across its wrappers. It anticipates net income from mature funds under management to contract by around 11 basis points to a range between 43 and 45 basis points from the point of implementation onwards.

Finally, the removal of initial product charges across all product wrappers will mean no more contribution to the cash result from a margin arising on new business.

Supporting the Brand

SJP added the changes will rebalance its advice and product charges towards the value of the advice.

"Making these changes will position SJP and the partnership for long-term, sustainable success," it said.

"Simplifying our charges will support our brand and reputation and challenge the common misconceptions around our proposition, broadening our appeal over time; and they will enable us to better present the value we and our advisers are able to deliver for clients across all elements of our proposition.

"In addition to benefiting from improved simplicity and therefore comparability, clients will see enhanced value from the changes we are making, with reduced overall ongoing charges for existing client investments across our core product wrappers.

"We are ensuring we continue to have a sustainable and competitive charging platform for the long-term, offering simplicity, comparability, and a continued focus on value for clients."

Meanwhile, SJP has released an update for the third quarter to September 30. Closing funds under management at September 30 rose 11% to £158.57 billion from £143.14 billion a year prior. Net inflows in the quarter fell to £910 million from £2.19 billion a year ago.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Croft said: "Looking forward, we are beginning to see signs that inflation is moderating and that the current cycle of interest rate increases may be reaching a peak, bringing some optimism that this will ease the pressure on clients and will, in due course, provide for a more favourable operating environment over time."

St James's shares were 1.9% higher at 684.80p each on Tuesday morning in London.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
St James's Place PLC511.80 GBX1.75

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