St. James’s Place Wealth Management - Best HNW Team, Best Wealth Planning Team, Best Wealth Manager - Growth Portfolio & Best Wealth Adviser Personality of the Year (Ian Gascoigne)
It’s been another huge year for St. James’s Place over 2018, with gross inflows of GBP15.7 billion and net inflows of GBP10.3 billion. The Partnership has also grown by 8 per cent and has 3,954 advisers supporting over 680,000 clients across the UK.
The firm has won two awards in the Wealth Adviser awards for its service to wealth planning and high net worth individuals, but the third, this year, is a personality award, Best Wealth Adviser Personality of the Year award for Ian Gascoigne, St. James’s Place’s managing director.
Gascoigne’s career in financial services came as a second career as he studied psychology and then social work at university, joining the probation service and working as a probation officer for five years.
Looking for new challenges, he became a financial adviser in 1986, working for some of the biggest names in the industry before joining St. James’s Place in 1991.
Looking back at the development of the financial services industry over those years, he says: “It’s been a journey to professionalism. Look at what happened from the mid-1980s to now, the complex nature of the advice, the requirements for documents and suitability. The added complexity and the growing sophistication of clients means that an adviser has to be professionally technically competent and able to provide an ongoing relationship which provides that service throughout the lifetime of that relationship.”
St. James’s Place is committed to training and developing the next generation of advisers and has invested some GBP10 million into the St. James’s Place Academy, and the Next Generation Academy. Last year, 142 people graduated from the St. James’s Place Academy and Next Generation Academy, and at the end of the year there were 379 individuals in the programme.
In addition, 50 Partner Support Staff became fully diploma qualified having passed through the firm’s Paraplanning Academy, and 2018 saw the enrolment of 230 new students into the Academies, helping to underpin the firm’s future growth ambitions.
Gascoigne says: “Back in the late 1980s, there was a focus across the sector on selling products, whereas now it is advice. I am very proud of St. James’s Place. We have done an awful lot to enhance that journey to professionalism, in our support for the Chartered exams, training support and personal development of our Partners. We provide a very professional environment for Partner Practices to grow their businesses and the success in the scale of our business is the consequence of that.”
The firm’s recent biennial Wealth Account Survey brought in 38,000 responses and showed overall client satisfaction remains high. Some 95 per cent of respondents said St. James’s Place offered excellent, good or reasonable value for money and 93 per cent said that they would recommend the firm to others and year-on-year, the firm consistently retains over 92 per cent of clients’ investments.
Gascoigne comments that the financial services industry becoming more professional benefits everyone.
“Looking forward, the advisory space is a great business to be in,” he says. “The public requires professional and qualified advisers so there is an exciting future ahead for people who are prepared to take on the demands of being technically competent and professional in their roles as advisers.” n