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Feb. 25, 2021, 2:30 a.m. EST

St. James's Place reports underlying cash drop

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By Sabela Ojea

St. James's Place PLC reported Thursday a drop in its underlying cash result for 2020, as it set out targets for funds growth to 2025 and rebased its dividend policy.

The FTSE 100 wealth management business posted a pretax profit of 426.4 million pounds ($603 million) compared with GBP708.9 million for the same period a year earlier. Its underlying cash result fell to GBP264.7 million from GBP273.1 million.

Profit before shareholder tax increased to GBP327.6 million from GBP187.1 million for the year-earlier period.

Funds under management rose to GBP129.3 billion from GBP117.0 billion.

The board declared a 2020 dividend of 38.49 pence, down from a dividend of 49.71 pence for the previous year. It will also pay 11.22 pence a share which had been withheld in its 2019 final dividend.

Regarding its five-year targets, the company said it sees funds under management in excess of GBP200 billion by the end of 2025. It also said it would cut around 200 roles in 2021, using voluntary redundancy where possible.

"Growth on this scale will require continued investment but given the success of our technology initiatives in recent years, we believe overall expense growth can be held to around 5% per annum thereby delivering additional value for shareholders through operational leverage in the cash result," St. James's Place said.

The company said it intends to pay out around 70% of the underlying cash result in dividends annually over the period, down from its current policy to pay out around 80% of the underlying cash result.

Write to Sabela Ojea at sabela.ojea@wsj.com; @sabelaojeaguix

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