SJP makes transparency commitment after charges criticism

St James’ Place has agreed to publish its pension and bond charges online for the first time after being hit with criticism over the transparency of its fees.

The wealth management giant has previously published its unit trust pricing on its website, but had not made pension or bond charges clear to non-clients.

SJP chief executive David Bellamy says: “We have one set of wrappers online and we will be moving to put our pension and bond wrappers onto our website.

“All clients get this information before they do business with us. A few have told us that if you’re not a pension or bond client then you can’t see the charges online. We’ve said many times our industry can do better in terms of making these things more transparent.”

Bellamy also backed his firm’s long-term approach to clients, who face 6 per cent early withdrawal charges for the first year of pension or investment bond products, dropping by a per cent a year.

Bellamy says: “We would not and should not deal with clients who have any notion of taking their money out over the next two or three years.”

Unit trust customers pay 5 per cent up front but do not face an exit charge.

SJP has recently come under renewed fire for the clarity of its charges, after a number of client stories were reported by the Sunday Times, including that of a retired solicitor who was unable to calculate his charges.

Liverpool-based IFA Angus Millen posted a note on LinkedIn earlier this month criticising SJP’s charges and informing anyone with money with the firm to get in touch for a review of their SJP funds.

Yesterday, SJP reported net new funds were up 26 per cent in the final quarter of 2016, taking assets under management past £75bn.

Bellamy, who is 63, said he had no immediate plans to leave the firm.

He says: “I’m 63 years old. Am I leaving one day? Yes, of course. Do we plan for succession in these businesses, yes we do. Am I announcing today that I’m leaving? No, I’m not.”