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St. James's Place fourth-quarter assets hit by weaker markets

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By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – British wealth manager St James’s Place <SJP.L> on Thursday posted a fall in assets of 5 billion pounds in the fourth quarter on the back of weaker market returns.

However, it still managed to record net inflows of 2.6 billion pounds as clients continued to seek its face-to-face advice on a range of services from pensions to investments and tax planning.

At the end of December, total assets stood at 95.55 billion pounds, down from 100.59 billion pounds at the end of September, it said in a statement, after market losses of 7.6 billion pounds.

The end of 2018 was tough for many markets around the world as concerns about tightening monetary policy and economic growth spurred a slide in stocks that left many indexes nursing their worst losses since the financial crisis.

With many other markets also falling, there proved little place to hide for many asset managers, prompting a number to issue profit warnings and plan a series of cuts to try and prepare for a tougher market outlook.

Calling the performance for the full year “robust”, with 12-month net inflows up 12.3 percent and total funds up 5 percent, Chief Executive Andrew Croft said the firm’s clients were “not immune to such external market factors.”

“While challenging market conditions, like those currently being experienced, will slow the pace of fund inflows from time to time, the fundamentals of our clients’ financial planning requirements remain unchanged.”

(Reporting by Simon Jessop, editing by Sinead Cruise)

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