St James’s Place clients ignored the return of equity market volatility in the first quarter to increase their level of fund commitments to the business above the level invested last year.

The company reported net inflows of £2.6 billion versus £1.9 billion in the same period of 2017. Over the 12 months total client funds within the business rose from £79.8 billion to £89.9 billion. That was a marginal slide from the £90.7 billion reported at the turn of the year.

Surging markets made 2017 a record-breaking calendar year for client investment, said chief executive Andrew Croft, but a breakdown in momentum had not yet cooled client demand.

‘Inflows of £2.6 billion were 31% higher, reflecting the continuing excellent retention of existing client investments,’ he said.

‘Weaker investment markets resulted in funds under management closing at £89.91 billion, marginally lower over the three months but still up strongly over the past year.

‘We continue to see a growing market for trusted face-to-face financial advice and believe St James's Place remains ideally placed to meet this need. This growing market, together with the strong start we have made to 2018, reinforces our confidence in our ability to achieve our stated objective of 15-20% growth in gross inflows during 2018 and beyond.’

At the end of last year SJP reported that its qualified adviser numbers had risen by 246 people . According to its fourth quarter trading update, the business now has 3,661 advisers, an increase of 7%, within 2,415 partner businesses.