Currencies

Nomura rounds up markets’ biggest misses in 2016

Forecasting markets a year in advance is never easy, but with “year-ahead investment themes” season well underway, Nomura has provided a handy reminder of quite how difficult it is, with an overview of markets’ biggest hits and misses (OK, mostly misses) from the start of 2016. The biggest miss among analysts, according to Nomura’s Sam […]

Continue Reading

Property

Spanish construction rebuilds after market collapse

Property developer Olivier Crambade founded Therus Invest in Madrid in 2004 to build offices and retail space. For five years business went quite well, and Therus developed and sold more than €300m of properties. Then Spain’s economy imploded, taking property with it, and Mr Crambade spent six years tending to Dhamma Energy, a solar energy […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

Euro suffers worst month against the pound since financial crisis

Political risks are still all the rage in the currency markets. The euro has suffered its worst slump against the pound since 2009 in November, as investors hone in on a series of looming battles between eurosceptic populists and establishment parties at the ballot box. The single currency has shed 4.5 per cent against sterling […]

Continue Reading

Banks

RBS falls 2% after failing BoE stress test

Royal Bank of Scotland shares have slipped 2 per cent in early trading this morning, after the state-controlled lender emerged as the biggest loser in the Bank of England’s latest round of annual stress tests. The lender has now given regulators a plan to bulk up its capital levels by cutting costs and selling assets, […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

China capital curbs reflect buyer’s remorse over market reforms

Last year the reformist head of China’s central bank convinced his Communist party bosses to give market forces a bigger say in setting the renminbi’s daily “reference rate” against the US dollar. In return, Zhou Xiaochuan assured his more conservative party colleagues that the redback would finally secure coveted recognition as an official reserve currency […]

Continue Reading

Categorized | Financial

St James’s Place dividend to boost Lloyds


Posted on February 28, 2013

Shares in St James’s Place hit all-time highs after the wealth-manager-cum-life-assurer disclosed plans to lift its dividend by a third – a decision that will give shareholder Lloyds Banking Group a £50m annual cash payout.

The FTSE 250 company, in which state-backed Lloyds holds a 57 per cent stake, told investors to expect a similar dividend increase later this year, on the back of fresh inflows of client money.

    Presenting a 23 per cent rise in annual pre-tax profits to £135m, David Bellamy, chief executive, indicated that the company’s close relationships with wealthy clients had protected it from the woes afflicting the wider financial services sector.

    Vivek Raja, an analyst at Oriel Securities, said that these improving results strengthened the argument for Lloyds holding on to its stake in St James’s Place, which it inherited through its acquisition of HBOS in 2008.

    “The returns are getting better – and they are certainly better for Lloyd’s group returns,” he said.

    For at least two years, analysts have been speculating that Lloyds was preparing to offload its holding. The bank discloses annual results on Friday.

    Funds under management at St James’s Place, which sells a range of financial products to more than 200,000 people, rose more than a fifth in 2012 to £34.8bn.

    On the back of rising income garnered from the assets it manages, the group generated £92m worth of cash in 2012, up 37 per cent on a year ago.

    St James’s Place was benefiting from business written in previous years, said Mr Bellamy, explaining that distribution costs and other overheads tend to minimise initial cash generation.

    The company said it would pay a final dividend of 6.39p a share, giving a payout for the year of 10.64p – up 33 per cent on a year earlier. This is payable from diluted earnings per share, which were steady at 21.2p.

    Mr Bellamy indicated that the company might consider setting up a limited overseas distribution capability to serve wealthy British expatriates in places such as Hong Kong.

    St James’s Place said it was well placed to benefit from this year’s regulatory shake-up in the market for financial advice, as it has been hiring former independent financial advisers whose business has been by a new ban on commission payments.

    The number of St James’s Place partners – in effect sales agents – rose 8 per cent to 1,790 last year.

    Shares in St James’s Place rose 1.78p to 486.48p.