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SJP: our future is not with Lloyds

by Alex Steger on Jul 28, 2011 at 07:52

SJP: our future is not with Lloyds

St James’s Place (SJP) does not fit into the longer terms plans of majority shareholder Lloyds Banking Group, according to SJP chief executive David Bellamy.

Bellamy (pictured) said despite being spared the chop in Lloyds’ recent strategic review he did not see this as an indication SJP would remain within the Lloyds’ group long term.

‘They have signaled no selling at this time, but I don’t think we fit in the longer term plans,’ he said.

‘The strategic review was largely about the bigger business of Lloyds, the banking, the debt, and so on and so forth. All he [António Horta-Osório] said was "we are not planning to do anything with SJP at this time"; it was not part of the strategic review.’

SJP profits increased by over 50% to £55 million for the first half of 2011, although the company’s distribution arm failed to make a profit as adviser remuneration reduced as a result of the retail distribution review (RDR).

Overall profits before tax were up 52% to £55.3 million from £36.3 million in the first half of 2010, but the key driver for this result was higher income from increased funds under management. Assets increased to an average of £28 billion under management, a 27% rise on the same period last year.

The distribution business, which made a £5.9 million profit in the first half of 2010, failed to make a profit in the first six months of this year.

SJP said the declining margin in distribution was due to the RDR.

‘In 2011, the rate of income paid for distribution activity reduced, as a result of the equalisation of partner remuneration across product categories in anticipation of RDR,' it said.

'The associated drop in income results in the reporting of a profit of £nil (2010: £5.9 million) from distribution activity in the period, which is lower than in the same period last year.’

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75 comments so far. Why not have your say?

JigJag

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:09

I bet the inflated salaries of the senior & middle management didn't drop because of RDR issues during the period in question !Ju

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Nick

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:12

and it will get worse SJP, much worse!

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monkey

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:17

"upmarket sales force" - drink!

sorry citywire drinking games are dangerous this early

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Anitaki

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:17

"The upmarket salesforce claimed 343 of its 1,601 partners had reached level four................."

Would Citywire PLEASE stop usig the word "upmarket" for this gang, especially when little more than 20% of then have attained level 4

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Man in Black

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:20

" as a result of the equalisation of partner remuneration across product categories in anticipation of RDR..."

You mean they were flogging so many commission-loaded bonds that when RDR was used as an excuse to 'equalise' (i.e. lower) the rate paid on those Bonds, it had a significant impact on the revenues of the distribution arm? (And one assumes a corresponding reduction in the costs of SJP as a whole?)

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Anitaki

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:27

"as a result of the equalisation of partner remuneration across product categories in anticipation of RDR..."

Is actually Orwellian 'newspeak' for not blatantly buying in business via overpriced bond products in anticipation of RDR. Why do Citywire continue to panda to these bondfloggers??

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stephen haythornthwaite

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:30

I remember one of their recruiting teams coming along to a place I worked as a s/emp IFA and i was amazed at the blatant sales pitch because it was so crap. How they manage to get anyone onboard with the naff presentation amazes me.

btw nice one monkey, nearly joined you on that one, hahaha

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Man in Black

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:33

@Anitaki

Your entry @08:27 looks like it crossed with mine. Have to agree - how do bondfloggers in SJP (or some of the private banks) get to earn themselves the adjective "upmarket"?

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Anitaki

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:42

@ Man ib Black

Yes. They do say that 'Great minds think alike'

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EmJayAy

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:43

Anitaki, I agree, to relentlessly refer to them as upmarket makes me question NMA's judgement and worry whether someone at SJP has their ear in some way....?

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David Penn

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:45

As a previous IFA, who has looked after high net worth clients for over 20 years, I joined SJP in March of this year. I can only assume that the comments made from other individuals, who do not have the courtesy to make such comments under their actual name, have no conception whatsoever of the SJP model.

The fact is that they are a first-class organisation who provide fantastic research material thereby negating the need for me to go through that whole research procedure. The research is supported by Stanford Associates a renowned research company who provide research on over 30,000 funds and their associated manages throughout the world.

Could I ask a simple question.

How many of you IFA is out there are doing exactly the same level of research which clearly you should be if you are offering your purported "whole market" approach. The fact is you're not doing it but you still play the "independent" song to anyone who wants to hear it.

The remuneration that I receive from transacting business inside of SJP, with contracts which are highly competitive, but you of course would not know that because you don't look inside the organisation, is less than I would receive as an IFA. So why did I join?

The fact is that the RDR will catch up with all of you and you will need to decide how you will trade in the future. Stop making smart remarks about something which you know nothing about and take the opportunity to see what SJP has to offer.

Please also take also the opportunity to read the actual results document, rather than this skewed piece of material, which demonstrates, at any level, the increased profitability of the group.

Finally, and with regards to qualifications, it made the point that 343 advisers had qualified during the first half of this year which means that over 60% are now fully qualified with the intention that by the end of December this year over 75/80% will be qualified. I think it always helps to read the material carefully before making comment.

The support, training and mentoring that SJP provide is far better than anything that I have seen before and they will, without a shadow of doubt, have the entire adviser population qualified well before the end of next year. They are investing huge amounts of money to make sure that that happens!

I am sure that many of you are now going to play the silly "he's brainwashed game" but let me emphasise one final point. Each and every one of my clients that I have had a meeting with, since joining SJP, entirely agree with the stance that I had taken and, for intelligent high net worth clients, looking at some of the comments made here, you would have thought that they would have deserted me without thought.

Take the opportunity to look before you comment please as you might actually find that the arrogance with which I stupidly dismissed and criticised SJP in the past is entirely unfounded.

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Solent

Jul 28, 2011 at 08:59

@ David Penn

Sorry what was that again David, I dropped off after 'first-class organisation'

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Roy Durrant

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:01

To David Penn

I take it your decision to offer restricted advice rather than Independant advice had nothing to do with the generous buy out arrangements SJP has for it's "partners" when they decide to sell up?

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Philip Melville

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:04

Well said David Penn,

Sadly the hysterical mob seem to thrive on whinging and seek to diminish any successful activity in this industry.

You will notice how quickly the blogs knocking anything positive fill with the same voices and yet whenever anything constructive is mooted we find the silence is deafening.

It would be interesting to see just how some of these people operate themselves.

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Anitaki

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:05

To quote President Obama, "If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig"

Similarly, if you put the label "upmarket" on a non-independant bondflogger, it's still a bondflogger.

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EmJayAy

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:08

Yes, the "30,000" (?) funds argument is always used on clients to defend the 30 odd on which a sweet deal has been struck.

Great sales and marketing machine they may be but in my mind, the SJP position is indefensible, full stop.

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Man in Black

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:08

@David Penn

I know that organisation quite well: I've worked with a lot of the former management (from Keith Carby downwards) and a number of advisers who have both gone to, and come from, SJP.

The fact that SJP invest heavily in their training is certainly true. One of their former technical trainers is a free-lance consultant these days and I am yet to meet any other technical trainer of her calibre. The other thing they do very well is marketing in terms of building their brand and the client experience.

Neither these points nor the calibre of a few good individuals there alters the reality of the figures and the underlying nature of many of their advisers - a culture that found its ultimate expression in being fined for churning in 2003, long before it became fashionable.

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Tony Laverick

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:14

Level 4 is no more 'qualified' than getting 3 stars on a MacDonalds badge.

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Duncan Carter 2

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:15

Interesting point Phil but my question of David Penn is what does he do with the client assets that he arranged and advised on as an IFA but now cannot advise on as he is a tied agent?

This is more than a tongue in cheek question as I cannot see how it would be feasible to transfer such assets to SJP products in a compliant fashion, yet that must be part of if not the majority of the rationale to become an SJP seller.

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Richard Anderson

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:17

to David Penn:

David, you are obviously happy with the SJP model, and wish you well in your new role. The big issue, however, is independence and impartiality. As an IFA, if a client asks me to comment on a product that he/she holds with Standard Life, Prudential or A J Bell I can give them my appraisal of it, and can decide whether new money should be used to augment an existing plan or to start a new plan, selected from the Whole Market. As a tied agent of SJP you (1) cannot comment on another company's product,(2) cannot arrange increments to an existing product and (3) cannot arrange a new propduct with anyone other than SJP. This means that you cannot fully advise your client.

But please correct me if I am wrong.

I accept your point about fund research, but would add that if you ask 10 fund research houses for their views on funds you will get 10 different answers - it is a subjective as well as qualitative opinion. Furthermore, the output for SJP will automatically be filtered to those funds that can fit the SJP process - i.e. only funds that are large enough for the scale of volume that SJP would put through (and I wouldn't want to speculate on any other filters).

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Peter Kibowen

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:19

'over 30,000 funds' researched for the benefit of the clients. fantastic!

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Philip Melville

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:20

What a revolting pompous mob these pages have created.

How sad that for some consumers who access these sites you are the image of our industry.

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James Hurdman

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:27

It sounds to me like Mr Penn only Joined SJP so that he didn't have to do his own fund research. That's a pity because he could have employed the services of a fund research company or outsourced his investment management. That would have allowed him to maintain his IFA status and continue to give unbiased, helpful advice to his clients. Now he won't be able to do that, which is a shame.

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Anitaki

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:33

is there an "upmarket" signing on fee for prostituting your independance for being confined to giving restricted advice?

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Soothsayer

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:41

If this publication is called New Model Adviser, why does it choose to blow smoke up the backside of a tired, bondflogging restricted model ?

I will vomit if you refer to this outfit as 'upmarket' again.

You are simply perpetuating the SJP myth.

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Chris F

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:42

Philip "ad hominem" Melville remains true to form I see.

Just my two penn'orth; in 17 years of advising clients I have NEVER seen SJP give good advice.

I have, however, see fraud - involving the police as the FSA washed their hands of it, blatant churning, lies:scaring a newly bereaved widow into investing in bonds, for example, as the government were "about to withdraw the tax benefits" that she didn't need anyway. The list goes on.

I'll take my chances with Mr Melville's "pompous mob" any day over an SJP salesperson.

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Gibbon

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:42

Seems there is a lot of jealously and envy in the IFA market...

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Philip Melville

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:44

@ Alex Stegar,

This is disgraceful and does nothing for the image you want for this industry.

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Financialplanner2012

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:49

Messrs Penn and Melville make a good fist of defending their corner. However, they are defending the indefensible.

If they are minded to pursue this topic further, perhaps they could provide statistics as to the number of bonds sold as a percentage of clients, and also by tax band.

While the term "bondflogger" may not apply to them, it is certainly my experience of dealing with clients escaping from SJP that a bond is always part of the package.

I tend to agree with Anitaki's succinct opinion, and it is for SJP to refute the majority opinion by providing statistics, rather than sophistry.

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chs

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:54

I have read all the comments re SJP above. I work for an IFA, not many would call it upmarket, but the quality of research has attracted hundreds of thousands of clients. All I can say from my experience is that when SJP invitied me to take a look at their model - the pitch from the regional director was highly focused on earnings, signing on fees, buy out potential. Some ex collagues were tempted and have failed miserably and in doing so took on debt, others have succeeded as they would have done in any organisation.

I am not a fan of debt to acquire clients, neither do I support that any move to SJP would have to be at the expense of turning every client;s assets from their well researched holdings now into SJP's well researched holdings just to make a buck - so for me the moral aspect of how I am paid leads me to say in the words of the dragons "I am out". Putting your clients first will in the fullness of time look after you.

As for RDR how can the SJP long term buy out plan work for partners. You cannot charge a 'trail' or similar fee for a service you cannot provide. To provide a decent service 50-100 clients is manageable. Beyond that clients will not get the service from their advisor as travel, meeting, admin and report writing time all limit the amount of people you can see or speak with and ulitmately the income you might build up.

Thats it from me.

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Bob Donaldson

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:55

The type of comments on this website only go to illustrate why our industry cannot sing with one voice on any issue. Whilst I have no desire to sing the praises of Mr Penn he does play with a straight bat. He probably is well aware of the limitations of his company but feels that at least he is doing something to give people the benefit of advice however restricted it might be.

This is no different to going to a car dealership that sells BMWs, you ain't going to get a Mercedes but if you are happy with a BMW so be it.

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Peter Parker

Jul 28, 2011 at 09:57

You have to wonder why the sycophantic Phil Melville who must surely double up as the "upmarket" SJP spokesperson on these pages doesn't just join the bondfloggers and be done with it!!!

After all, given a choice between the Banks and SJP, it's a close run thing as to who has the more dubious business practices!

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alan macfarlane

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:01

Such bitterness. Phil Melville - I don't know about revolting but certainly pompous and maybe add in sanctimonious for good measure.

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Paul Barnard

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:01

I used to work for the Pru when we had bike clips and collecting books, then for a direct sales outfit (CUFS) and also worked in bancassurance at its birth. The training on offer and provided at all these organisations was far and away better and more abundant than most IFAs had or have had.

It doesn't alter the facts that I only had a limited product range to sell from (yes, the S word) and I couldn't advise on existing contracts other than those I had sold.

I would love to know how often the "30,000 funds" are reviewed.

There are many quality advisers at SJP I am sure and their marketing and client focused material are superb, just as was Allied Dunbar. I also know of many with whom I have worked who are far from "upmarket" and do seem to like full fat bonds unencumbered by best advice.

So, in the same way as not all IFAs are "upmarket", neither are all SJP salespeople. Only an IFA represents his or her cleints in law, a tied agent works for and represents its employer. Fact.

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Richard Wakem

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:04

David Penn i thought i would google you

http://www.davidpenn.co.uk/

you have have to laugh ?

a quick question for SJP i have the Diploma so can i call myself "upmarket"

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Simon Mansell

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:04

Yes what is all thie "first class" and "upmarket" stuff? How upmarket are distributer Influenced Funds (DIFs) which can increases costs and complexity for their upmarket clients?

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Neil Mumford

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:06

There are always bad eggs in any organisation but feel that some of the comments made on this page are well out of order.

As an IFA I believe that every adviser has a choice on how they trade whether it be tied, independent, part of a national, direct or with a network and at the nd of the day a client gets advice.

St James Place have been very successful and you do not get that successful by doing so many things badly as is mentioned on this blog. I am sure there is no more misselling, churning going on with SJP than there is anywhere elese in the industry.

Perhaps some people in this blog should actually focus on learning from some of the postives achieved by St James Place rather than a few negatives.

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Clarkie

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:12

Whichever 'side of the fence you sit on' i.e.

Happy to offer restricted advice moving forward, make sales to clients and benefit from SJP having a 'manufacturing margin' as well.

OR

Offer truly Independent Advice and act on behalf of your clients who will happily pay for your bespoke services and require the 'best products from the whole of the market'.

The underlying issue remains that RDR is being forced upon the Industry and is threatening both model's financial viability.

Bancassurance is being cut back, sales forces are closing, Networks will continue to fall and the loser will be - NOT SJP or 'high-brow' IFA's....... but the public in general.

Neither model can effectively advise or sell to everyone that has a genuine need.

Instead of 'having a pop' at each other why not try and help the Industry to come up with more practical solutions than increasing the revenue of 'learning' organisations' and dismissing commission out of hand with no practical alternative. No wonder Simon Hudson has decided to get out now!

Simples..............

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Philip Melville

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:15

For those of you rambling on about limited offerings perhaps you should relect on what determines the advice you give yourself.

Providers have been reducing the range of commission paying products over the past ten years which in itself has acted as a restriction on the activity of the IFA community.

As the vast majority of you still rely on the commission process you automatically operate with restricted advice.

How sad it is that so many are unable to conduct or enter any debate with common courtesy or manners. And the range of vocabulary says an awful lot about your capabilities in your work.

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charlie palmer

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:20

david penn - methinks thou dost protest too much

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Fully informed

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:22

Questions - do SJP enrich their clients or do they leave them with less money than they started. Do any of their clients achieve financial independence or at least achieve a feeling of peace that their finances are in order? Do clients stay with them in the long term or are they one off bond hits and then dispersed to the wind? If any of these answers are positive then what is the problem with SJP?

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WGFS

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:23

The reality is that many IFA's are glorified salesmen as are many SJP advisers. Many are terrible salesman but great at exams but never do any client work, write horendously long complicated reports yet profess to be top tier advisers... sorry life planners... sorry wealth creators... sorry life wealth coaches.......

Equally however there are also many very good IFA's operating in the SJP & IFA sector using proper 'business models'. Many smaller IFAs that are sole pratactioners will go down the SJP route as it offers more structure.

Sounds like David is a good adviser and cares .... unfortunately there are also lots of wingers making silly comments such as many on this site.

In terms of impartiality and whole of market many IFAs choose OBSR,Ibbotson etc to come up with panels which SJP use their fund selection process albeit not as many funds and perhaps one questions the mirror fund type charging.

Some advisers are clearly fund managers in disguise and have seemingly avoided every crash and make lots of money.... mmmm i am suspicious of these.

Well done David. If you are caring for your clients, they like the model you have proposed and have seen a change for the better then great. It sounds like you are one of the new model advisers of the future and I hope you have some influence in making SJP better going forwards.

As a profession there is a long way to go and if the wingers spent half their energy building their own business model rather than ' winging about ,FSA,Clients,Fines,SJP,SJP,SJP then they might have something to be proud of.

Judging by some of these commenst many of the advisers commenting on this blog must 'have arrived' at the perfect business model space (fully qualified chartered perfect advisers with the greates portfolios and advice proposition) ... it sounds like it the way they critisise other !!

PS : We do about 20% bond flogging per annum ... have 3 advisers, 85% recurring fees average £400,000 each and operate on a 1% initial model and 1% ongoing. (have done so for 4 years)

PPS Phil is an IFA as are we

PPPS We will be chartered within the year...

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PB @SFML

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:26

I think it must be the SJP clients who are, 'upmarket'? And why do most of them remain? Most will be reasonably intelligent so wonder what the overwhelming reason is?

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Ben DeToy

Jul 28, 2011 at 10:46

www.upmarketsalesforce.co.uk

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Revohtron

Jul 28, 2011 at 11:04

@David Penn

SJP are hugely successful, because of their marketing strategies, which they back up with impeccable research and servivcing of their relatively limited products, of that there is no doubt.

McDonalds do the same, but nobody refers to that as being "upmarket"; they are highly profitable in selling a limited quality product.

Every time that I have come across an SJP portfolio it is very similar to the last, as was the advice. That is the very essence of a successfull business model: easily and profitably replicated across many sites, so many IFAs would do well to learn those lessons.

However, continuing with the food analogy, you will notice that much of the commentary here has been rather sniffy as to the SJP success. The "True IFAs" like to think of themselves as being bespoke, because they invent the wheel every time; hence are more like Gordon Ramsay than Burger King. Sadly, we all know what happened to Gordon Ramsay's chain, so that isn't a great place to be either.

The IFA community would do well to learn from the SJP model, but SJP has to realise that RDR is about to bite theirs in the backside, if it isn't altered.

30 all...SJP to serve

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Ian Lees

Jul 28, 2011 at 11:17

I wonder if LloydsTSB will apply the same practices of rifling through the bank statements looking for policies such as endowments life assurance and pensions sold - contact the client, arrange a meeting then churn the policies. I understand Scottish Widows reduced their premiums some three to four years ago to accomodate these selling practices - to buy this business. These activities appear to stack up as Scottish Widows were the second highest pension product churning company in NMA recent report. I wonder why the Feeble FSA has not investigated or interveened or asked questions with regard to these banking selling practices ? Secondly, if Scottish WIdows has reduced their premiums to buy business it does not appear to be a particularly good business model - and how safe is scottish Widows as a company either under Lloyds TSB or when ejected ? What will happen to the clients who purchased life assurance - the company sinks in the Edinburgh mire - and consumers are left like endowments and the losses of their pensions - when reckless iand incompetent directors - abuse their position and do NOT act with the duty of care required ?

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Tom Robinson

Jul 28, 2011 at 11:20

I have never communicated on NMA before, but think that some of the comments this morning have been a little and unnecessarily impolite so feel some balance is required.

I was a tax lawyer (in the City) and then an IFA but when I set up my own business I chose to join SJP for some of the reasons set out above, but in particular the need to have access to resourced fund management research. I simply would not have had good access to fund managers in the UK and certainly wouldn’t have been able to source fund managers in the UK not offering retail products nor fund managers in non UK jurisdictions, where SJP have appointed fund managers from non retail institutions as well as overseas fund managers. There are other reasons, namely:

- Compliance control, particularly of replacement transactions which have to be pre-approved other than for term insurance (on cost savings) and ISA transfers.

- There is then an ongoing compliance checking post transaction of business submitted (the relevant % business being checked is based on track record).

- Bonds are deemed suitable for individuals only provided they meet certain criteria and top of the list is investor tax status – SJP are not bondfloggers

- For IHT planning, there is a thorough process in place for determining how to take action and in what order action should be taken, which in tax terms are entirely appropriate and sensible (the last resort being whole of life). There are a wide range of schemes available (Close/Octopus AIM/EIS) as well as the usual and one unusual bond based scheme (DGT/G&L etc).

- The process for taking retirement benefits is really stringent with meaningful restrictions on what is appropriate. All income drawdown cases are pre-approved.

- For the management of non SJP holdings we can refer to a panel of stockbrokers (currently Quilter and Cheviot are on panel) (or any IFA). This panel has fixed fees and the providers subject to review. UBS were recently removed from the panel following material personnel changes.

- The panel of providers for annuities, term/whole life protection, corporate benefits is whole of market. We also have a range of stakeholder pensions available.

So, I am able to outsource the investment management, either to SJP (with me setting the asset allocation) or via discretionary managers, who are quality controlled.

We all offer services to clients and for me the key is not to sell products but to establish long lasting relationships based upon trust where I have ongoing 6 monthly reviews. Being with SJP does not preclude offering this type of service nor giving the right advice to a client. Indeed, we have the facility to add fee charging arrangements to our terms of business also.

SJP may in the past have had reputational issues and, as with IFAs (witness the 10 biggest fines item in the last couple of weeks), there may be poor advisers as well as good.

There it is.

Tom

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David Wingar

Jul 28, 2011 at 11:28

Bored silly

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Sean Narey

Jul 28, 2011 at 11:42

Hilarious. I think of SJP as more Campden Market than Upmarket but the fact remains that whether you are restricted, independent or tied if you are dependent on a transaction to get paid then you are a salesperson and not an adviser. My dislike of SJP is more to do with the fact that they are not advisers at all; they sell products and if you need to sell products to get paid then you are acting for your own benefit and not the benefit of your client.

It is funny to hear someone refer to the Diploma as Fully Qualified though. Not sure how 9 multi-guess exams makes you fully qualified.

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JR

Jul 28, 2011 at 11:55

So what would make someone fully qualified then?

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Adam Grant

Jul 28, 2011 at 12:01

I recently spoke to an old ex-colleague who is in the process of joining SJP, and when asked about the business he replied "we sell mainly bonds with no allocation rates and a straightforward 5% commission payable - this is a model which SJP do not believe they have to change moving through the RDR,..."

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Sean Narey

Jul 28, 2011 at 12:21

JR - Not the Diploma

Adam Grant - that is exactly the same model as Skipton Financial Services although they just sell Fund of Fund OEIC's with their own "service propoosition". It clearly still has no reference to the value that is being delivered and is still a sales model and not an advice model.

Taking 5% from a client is all well and good but will they deliver more than 5% back? I doubt it.

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lee rawding

Jul 28, 2011 at 12:31

Pop will eat itself. An interesting band that came to mind as I read the comments and watched a bunch of wannabe 'upmarket' carnivores tearing lumps out of each other with little regard for the wider consequences. Fools.

On the subject of SJP I'm glad they are doing well but the lack of profitability of the distribution arm is, in my opinion a longer term worry for them should the present trajectory remain downward.

The industry needs a variety of models if it is to provide advice to any more than a fraction of a fraction of 'HNW' individuals so I wish them well in the challenging years ahead.

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JR

Jul 28, 2011 at 12:33

So the RDR level 4 is the same as 3 stars at McDonalds then?

Good job I'm level 6, does that make me 5 stars at McDonalds?

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Tom Robinson

Jul 28, 2011 at 12:37

SJP pay me 3.3% initial (reducing to 3% from next year) on a UK investment bond. I can give up commission to enhance allocation. My business is built on recurring income not sales. Must be at a different SJP. Anyway, work to do.

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silver

Jul 28, 2011 at 12:56

@ Sean

Please quantify your statement with regard to sales person and advisor?

‘’if you are dependent on a transaction to get paid then you are a salesperson and not an adviser’’

I’ve taken the text below from a well known site; you probably know which one.....

Where you wish to operate on a commission basis, we will be paid by product providers when a transaction is carried out although you should bear in mind that such commissions are usually funded by product charges.

Sean, which are you?

An accountant spends an hour with his client giving generic advice but nothing in writing and no transaction is involved, is he a sales person or adviser.....Is he not trying to sell his services to the client?

Don’t know what the hang up is about sales people....every commodity is sold somewhere along the line.

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ArianAdar

Jul 28, 2011 at 13:12

So it wasn't the golden handcuffs then Tom Robinson?

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JR

Jul 28, 2011 at 13:20

@ silver

excellent work

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silver

Jul 28, 2011 at 14:17

Ive looked at SJP a couple of times and been flown to London and wined and dined at their expense,I have to say love them or hate them they are very slick at what they do.

I was offered 2.5% of my trail up front (which would be moved to their policy servicing unit) I would then receive nothing for two years and and subsequently recieve it again 2 years later

Along with this was the offer of,

Heavily subsidesd loans to buy client banks

Subsidised offices

PA services

A seperate sign on fee

Funding for the business (advance of salary really)

9 times buy out (Yeah right)

Glossy brochures etc

Free...yes free conventions....since when did anything come free in life and as far as I was concerned the reduced income and opportunity to earn was subsidsing this sort of stuff.

Lets face it the outfit do a great job of their marketing and branding,however,once you look a little deeper you see the products are no better than average and the spin wears a little thin when everything is promised free.

Nobody throws money at you for nothing!!!!

Personally I dont have a problem with them but I do have a problem with the upmarket title people use.....the SJP advisers I know are not upmarket,just very slick salesmen

They dont cost me any business because my portfolios and my propsition leave them way behind...quite ironic that only yesterday I took one of their disgruntled avisers on...and along with four accountants who have recently refused to use anything but independent

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Sean Narey

Jul 28, 2011 at 15:26

Silver, I am not sure what point you think you are making. Where a fee is agreed with a client, it can be to their advantage to pay this IF a transaction is done and commission/CAR is paid. However, where a fee is agreed with us it is paid regardless of a transaction being carried out as we are charging for advice and not for selling a product. The reality is that we don't use commission based pension or investment products and haven't done for sometime but we would wouldn't be able to facilitate commission/CAR payments to meet fees without this "compliant" wording. It's odd how you carefully selected which text to pull out but I am delighted that you consider our website to be "well known". Perhaps you would care to re-visit in a couple of weeks time when our new site goes live.

I would take a closer look at your company expect you hide behind your anonymous pseudonym.

As for the hang up about "sales people"; what is it that you are selling and how transparent are you? If you always put the client's best interests first then i have no problem with what you sell; if your advice is determined by how much commission you receive then i have a problem with "sales people".

I am only asking that the Financial Services "Profession" acts in a way that merits the rewards that it brings; the transactional model is there to suit advisers and not clients and RDR will hopefully go some way to putting a stop to this.

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Chris M O

Jul 28, 2011 at 17:26

God help our financial services consumers! Some of you should be very ashamed of your postings here and perhaps ought to take a long hard look at your level of professional etiquette.

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Andy pandy Fisher

Jul 29, 2011 at 07:44

You guys get a grip we are all sales people we sell financial goals and dreams

Most people on this site are poor sales people. Don't you get it accountants sell hours we all sell products. If it was not for sales professionals you would have no Market. Get a grip join towry law the only rdr ready firm. All firms will cease to exist we will be victorious god save king Andy

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Michael Middleton

Jul 29, 2011 at 07:57

What extraordinary levels of bile and vitriol, it makes me ashamed to be in the same business as some correspondents.

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Mark Haines

Jul 30, 2011 at 10:36

To Mr David Penn, It makes me laugh or should i say you do. When Pearl or should i say AMP exited the UK and made all of its sales force redundant, all the dubious individuals left and went to SJP or AXA, anyone who wanted to do the job properly went and became an IFA.

By the way i can talk as i have reached Dip level 4 and what a joke it was, still not hard enough to get rid of all the old boys out of the industry, you know the one's i mean the cynics the churners the ones that don't even know what a with profit fund consisits of.

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Peter Kibowen

Jul 30, 2011 at 11:09

Go back to work everyone and let's agree to disagree on this one

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JOHN BRUCE

Aug 01, 2011 at 10:23

You can tell some idiots anything and they will believe it,

Sales skills are involved in everything, but there is a diference between Financial Planning Advice and Sales advice.

If been an IFA is not the best, then why has sjp put so much effort into convincing everyone that they are IFA's???????????????

Their sales force tell everyone that they are IFA's, including their customers and yet The PIA, The FSA have never done anything to stop them.

You know what they say about cops that work in vice.

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Peter Kibowen

Aug 01, 2011 at 11:06

@ john bruce.

good question indeed & btw a new angle on the PIA FSA deafening silence. brilliant!

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Spouse of a banker

Aug 03, 2011 at 09:45

@ John Bruce.

' their sales force tell everyone they are IFAs ( no apostrophe by the way),including their customers'

What possible evidence can you have for this slanderous and erroneous statement? like most of the IFA commentators on here you must spend all your time following round (in fact being in all the meetings with) SJP Advisors or salespeople. Of course you will have time to do that since your (max)100 clients are all now paying you a fee for the time you have sold them spent looking after their interests.

How do you justify £1000 a year in fees per client? That should only equate to around 7 hours work per year per client and yet you claim to be constantly monitoring the performance of all the fund managers whose funds you recommended and your clients changing needs.

I'm sorry and I know my level 4 Diploma ( with gaps) counts for nothing and probably my law degree is useless too but most IFAs claims for service levels, number of clients etc just doesn't stack up -but as you say ' you can tell some idiots anything and they will believe it'

These are your words certainly not mine and certainly not worthy of anyone who calls themselves professional.

I do despair.

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Anitaki

Aug 03, 2011 at 09:58

@ Spouse of banker

I was recently at a dinner party. A woman fellow guest introduced herself to me (initially, l thought that a bit odd in itself), and within 2 minutes she clearly told me that she was an IFA with St James's Place. When l then told her that l was in compliance, you cannot believe how quickly she merged into the crowded room

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Chris F

Aug 03, 2011 at 09:59

to: Spouse of a banker.

1) How do you know the statement is "erroneous"?

2) Other than every (yes, that is EVERY) client of SJPs I have met believing the salesman is independent, I have been told directly by two SJP salesmen that they are independent. They didn't realise I was an IFA at the time.

3) You have a law degree apparently. Well done.

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Anitaki

Aug 03, 2011 at 10:10

@ Spouse of banker > > .............and l would add, she told me that she was an IFA and a "Wealth manager", WELL before she told me who she was actually with.

By chance 10 days ago, l met a another lady who told me StJP were her IFAs. (They had just flogged her a bond (surprise, surprise), that she was having doubts about). When l proved to her that they are ot IFAs, she found it hard to take in.

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Ian Lees

Aug 03, 2011 at 10:34

Those who I have met, including St James Place salespeople claim they are. . . . " almost independent", . . . the reason given. . . they have so many agencies, so many insurance products, so many funds etc., My reply " almost Independent " is NOT GOOD enough ! I am aware of solicitors who give talks with SJP I asume for glory, or the opportunity for business on Trusts and the like - yet the Law Society rules state solicitors should only uiuse Independent Advisers. One reason for this is the fee agreement and fee only option - as opposed to the comisions paid to Tied Agents or Multi Tied Agents. I cannot help feeling that the FSA should have made it abundantly clear from outset that if someone wishes to be a TIed Agent - from a sponsoring company they should be Tied to that one company - and the complaince issues would be so much less onerous and openess and transparency would be clear. I have no problem with commissions - it is the abuse of the commision structure by reckless and greedy advisers and directors of insurance comapnies. I experienced the buying of business when I was a consultant at Scottish Widows when we were told to offer higher levels of commisions to " encourage advisers to use Scottish Widows endowments and pensions ", e.g EP10 Versatile Endowment ( 20 year contracts with twenty years commissions ). These offered good opportunities for higher rate taxpayers - yet were sold by Leeds building society ( now Halifax and now TSB ) and the RBS to anyone who was breathing - clearly for commissions - rather than for financial planning.

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JOHN BRUCE

Aug 03, 2011 at 20:51

Thanks to those for the support above, been a busy day and just trawling through my emails now.

To the Spouse of a Banker;

Please accept my apologies, my comments clearly hit a raw nerve and it was not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings. My comments were merely tongue-in-cheek to arouse the passions of Independent Financial Planners and Advisors to stand up for what we know is a clear and superior process for carrying out Financial Planning and Advice. Impartiality can make all the difference!

With regard to your comment of ‘what possible evidence can you have to support this slanderous and erroneous statement’, I think you will find that my comment is made in isolation and with no particular reference to any individuals or group of individuals and I did not state that I had personally heard nor followed anyone around at SJP. Though it has been well stated in trade press over a many number of years and the myth of an independent status had become so embedded that the Law Society or the Solicitors Regulation Authority have had to remind solicitors that SJP are not independent. My comment with regard to ‘idiots’ was quite clearly stated in isolation and with no particular reference to anyone. However, I notice that you could not end your post without some sort of angered abuse, directed at me. I think this alone, puts you firmly in the corner with the other commentators who make somewhat unprofessional comments on such an excellent website.

How would you know if I charge £1,000 a year per client, is your husband a client of mine?? If he was a client of mine, then he would know that I spend more than seven hours worth of work per annum looking after his and your financial planning. But even if I did spend just seven hours a year looking after his finances, then I would certainly be selling myself short if I were charging an hourly rate fee as little as £130 an hour. And even more so if it were a more realistic rate of £250 an hour! But what if the work for their portfolio justified an hourly rate of £550, even though it still took seven hours the input and resources needed for this service possibly warranted a fee of £550 plus, per hour. It looks to me as though you possibly require somewhat more business experience in how to look after clients of different categories. What you may offer as a service in seven hours may not be what I offer in seven hours of my services. What you pay for a bottle of champagne at one club may well be much less than the bottle of champagne at another club. How the champagne is served and the extra trimmings and benefits received is what leaves you with the better experience and fulfilment.

I do have some very good friends who work a restricted model, and some who are akin to a more Tied background, some of them from the most elite Allied Dunbar sales-force and of course some friends even at SJP. Since I know these individuals extremely well, I know that these individuals would never do, or at least not intentionally do, anything to potentially harm their clients. The business model which they have chosen suits the type of business that they wish to operate. This model may become more popular, by force of markets, which of course is a great shame. We all may well at some point in the future sit down and think back to what all the fuss was about, but right now those of us who are Independent strongly believe that this Impartial/Independent model is the best business model for our clients and the wider community. Most of us feel that this is an identity worth fighting for!

Most of the people who know me, in the financial community, and I think there are quite a few up and down the country, know that I can be a bit flippant at times in order to stir debate or conversation, or act as the devil’s advocate. And sometimes make a comment that most are thinking themselves, but do not dare say aloud. It is always done with the best of intentions, even though it may not be perceived as so at the time.

When I was younger I may well have got away with some of these comments that some may not exactly have perceived as professional because of my left or right hook, but nowadays I make them in the knowledge that I have seen and done things that most will never have the privilege or the misfortune of been involved with or in. I have made and used tourniquets on people’s limbs which were either missing or were damaged, I have placed dismembered limbs and heads in to body bags and I have held the hand of a dying man; who was so severely injured that everyone else gave their apologies for not been able to stay and left as they could not stomach the sight of his injuries.

So alas, I may make comments which some deem as flippant and possibly unprofessional, but they are designed on occasion to bring people sharply back to reality or at least stir conversation or debate. Some things are worth fighting for and some things are worth debating for. I’m not the only one who has lived a little more; some have lived a lot more. But it is because I’ve lived a little more than most and have had life experiences in general that give me somewhat of a right to get away with a little more than most.

But please remember; that which does not kill us can only make us stronger.

Worrying about whether there should be an apostrophe, or if the use of a dozen question marks is correct, is rather futile especially when compared with the real issues of our clients and the world in general. (However, they are a modern usage!!!!!!!!!!!!!! & we are not solicitors citing law here.)

Once again to the Spouse of a Banker, my apologies if I offended you, my intentions were merely to stir a debate on a topic/area which is clearly worth debating.

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Spouse of a banker

Aug 06, 2011 at 09:19

I hope you charge a heck of a lot more than £1000/yr cost at your minimum rate thats now just 4 hours work ( all served nicely trimmed whatever that means).

NOBODY be they ex military, exparamedic or ex whatever you were in your glory days, can claim to give a professional service of 4 hours a year.

as i said the numbers dont stack up. to quote you back So alas, I may make comments which some deem as flippant and possibly unprofessional,

alas indeed.well done by the way for being well known but ive never heard of you.by the way spouse can be male too and bankers can be female but then you work on assupmtions and not facts.finally i havent bother with much punctuation or spell checking etc cos thats the modern idiom with twelve exclamation marks and you didnt offend me at all as im not an upmarket sjp salesman calling myself an ifa at my 'buy a bond here' stall at country fairs.have a nice weekend.

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JOHN BRUCE

Aug 08, 2011 at 12:31

To the spouse of ..................

Its ok I /we understand

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