* EEV new business profit up 18 pct at 327 mln stg
* EEV operating profit up 26 pct at 462.7 mln stg
* FY div up 50 pct at 15.96 pence
By Chris Vellacott
LONDON, Feb 25 British investment manager St
James's Place plans to mark its new-found independence
since majority owner Lloyds Banking Group sold out last
year with an acquisition in Asia.
Chief Executive David Bellamy said the company was at an
advanced stage in buying Henley Group, an advisory business with
around 400 million pounds ($665 million) under management and
4,000 expatriate clients in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.
"It's near completion though there are different regulators
to take through the process," he said, without disclosing the
financial terms of the transaction.
Bellamy said the move marked a tentative first step in a
possible long-term expansion overseas and other regions with
large British expatriate communities such as the Middle East
could be targeted in future if the Asian venture was successful.
"This is the start of something. We are deliberately taking
a step, but gently, gently. There might be some unforeseen
hurdles which might slow us down. On the other hand, if it goes
really well, who knows?" he said.
St James's Place, which sells investments to a well-heeled
British clientele and outsources the running of a range of
mutual funds to hand-picked external managers, was until last
year 60 percent-owned by Lloyds.
The lender sold its stake throughout 2013, placing the last
of its holding in December.
Tuesday's announcement came as the company published a
strong set of annual earnings, a 50 percent increase in its 2013
dividend and flagged a likely further 30-40 percent hike in
Underlying cash was up more than two thirds and new business
profit was up nearly a fifth at 327 million pounds, the company
"An excellent set of final results for 2013, with each of
the key embedded value metrics close to or ahead of our
forecasts," said Shore Capital Stockbrokers in a note.
St James's Place shares were up nearly 4 percent in early