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St. James's Place rides market flux, draws in $2.6 billion in net new money in Q4

By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) - British wealth manager St. James's Place said on Thursday it had weathered a tough market backdrop to take in 2.1 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in net new money in the fourth quarter, to help record its second-best year for asset raising.

After reporting record highs in assets under management in 2021 on the back of COVID 19-driven government stimulus, wealth managers saw demand weaken in 2022 as war in Ukraine and a cost-of-living crisis shook investor sentiment.

The pace of inflows, which took full-year net new client money to 9.8 billion pounds, was slightly below that seen in the third quarter and was not enough to stop a near 4% fall in assets under management over the year, to 148.4 billion pounds.

St James's Place said the percentage of assets it had managed to retain from the prior year rose slightly, to 96.5%, and Chief Executive Andrew Croft said he was optimistic about the outlook.

"Despite significant macroeconomic challenges, which deepened as the year progressed, 2022 marks the second-best year for new business flows in St. James's Place's history," he said in a statement.

While 2023 had started "in much the same way that 2022 ended", Croft said he was encouraged by signs UK inflation may have peaked, and evidence currency and investment markets were more stable.

"A sustained recovery in macroeconomic indicators would naturally be conducive towards improving consumer sentiment, activity levels and of course funds under management, as 2023 unfolds."

($1 = 0.8068 pounds)

($1 = 0.8069 pounds)

(Reporting by Simon Jessop, editing by Sinead Cruise)