UK Markets open in 4 hrs 19 mins

UPDATE 1-St. James's Place H1 inflows slow, misses on operating profit

By Simon Jessop

* Net inflows slow from year-earlier

* Costs for training, Asia weigh

* Operating profit misses analyst forecasts (Adds detail from statement, bullet points)

By Simon Jessop

LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - British wealth manager St. James's Place said on Wednesday that weaker client sentiment weighed on inflows of new money in the first half of the year while costs rose, leading it to miss forecasts for operating profit.

Net inflows of client cash were 4.4 billion pounds ($5.35 billion) in the six months to end-June, lagging the previous year's 5.2 billion pounds and just missing the 4.5 billion flagged in a company supplied consensus forecast of 17 analysts.

The bulk of SJP's clients are based in Britain where stocks have been hit hard by uncertainty around the country's exit from the European Union, adding to global concerns around world trade.

"In the short term as the current external environment remains uncertain, confidence towards investing may remain tempered," Chief Executive Andrew Croft said in a statement.

Higher investments in areas including the company's training programme for advisers and its Asian operations, meant profits lagged forecasts.

Operating profit on a European Embedded Value basis, a key measure of financial performance that reflects future expected cash-flows from insurance products, was 465.7 million pounds, down from 489.6 million in the prior year and lagging analysts' forecast of 480.2 million pounds.

($1 = 0.8224 pounds) (Reporting by Simon Jessop, editing by Huw Jones)