UPDATE 2-St. James's Place posts record funds under management

Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:07am EDT

Related Topics

* Funds under management up 19 percent to 47.6 bln pounds

* New inflows of 2.4 bln pounds

* Interim dividend up 40 pct

* After recent strong run, shares down 3.6 pct (Adds quote, background, shares)

By Simon Jessop

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - UK wealth manager St. James's Place bucked a patchy investment environment to post record funds under management (FuM) in the first half of the year, boosted by new client inflows.

FuM rose 19 percent to 47.6 billion pounds ($80.79 billion) in the six months to June 30, the company said, helped by 2.4 billion pounds in new money and the retention of 95 percent of its existing client funds.

That continued the strong growth seen at its first-quarter results as it continued to see more affluent clients seek out its services.

The stock has been one of the winners from a British government shake-up of the financial services industry which has hit small financial advisers by toughening up the rules on qualifications and the payment of commission for services.

"There is an increasing need for trusted advice out in the marketplace and fewer people providing it, and that's why our business is in great shape," Chief Executive David Bellamy said.

The stock is up 8.5 percent this year versus a flat FTSE 100 to trade at 21.4 times 12-month forward earnings, 63 percent above its 10-year median number, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Up 6.8 percent in the six sessions ahead of the results, it was down 3.6 percent to 761.5 pence by 0729 GMT, on course for its biggest daily fall in two months.

"The share have been reasonably strong over the last couple of weeks and people were expecting a beat and it has only come in line," said David Mccann, an analyst at Numis Securities.

The group recorded total single investments of 3.92 billion pounds in the period, up 21 percent, and said Partnership numbers, the external relationship managers that help sell its services, grew 5.4 percent to 2,007 over 12 months.

Operating profit rose 12 percent rise to 260.7 million pounds, helping fund an increase in the interim dividend of 40 percent to 8.93 pence a share, with forecasts of a similar increase to the full-year payout.

St James's was sold by majority owner Lloyds Banking Group in December.

($1 = 0.5892 British Pounds) (Additional reporting by Nishant Kumar; editing by Huw Jones and Jason Neely)

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