St James's Place (SJP) is broadening the range of services its discretionary arm Rowan Dartington offers and is considering bolt-on acquisitions to grow the business.
The news comes as SJP reported that pre-tax profit rose 14% to £211.9 million in 2018, with net inflows totalling £10.3 billion, up from £9.5 billion year-on-year.
Total assets under management (AUM) edged up 5.4% from £90.7 billion to £95.6 billion.
The results mark a return to growth for SJP, which like many of its rivals suffered a difficult fourth quarter as stock markets sold off sharply and the group reported that assets had tumbled from a September high of £100 billion.
Chief executive Andrew Croft (pictured) said positive inflows, couple with positive market movements in January and February have now pushed up AUM to £102 billion. He added that March typically accounts for around 50% of SJP’s first quarter inflows.
‘The business continues to perform well relative to the industry. However, challenging external factors, like those currently being experienced, are not in our control and the pace of fund flows has moderated compared with last year,’ he said.
The company now has net cash of £309 million, up 10% year-on-year and this helped support the decision to increase the dividend by 12.5% to 48.22p per share for the year.
SJP reported that Rowan Dartington’s AUM rose from £2.1 billion to £2.3 billion over the calendar year and the company is keeping an eye out for acquisition opportunities to bulk up the business, while broadening the range of services it offers clients.
Croft said: ‘Rowan Dartington is also growing in scale, with funds under management now totalling £2.3 billion, and its proposition is expanding both geographically - it is now present in Hong Kong with entry into Singapore planned for 2019 - and in terms of capability as the business explores new opportunities, including international multi-currency portfolios and portfolio lending services.
‘We will also continue to explore 'bolt on' acquisitions where we see both complementary fit and value.’