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Buy the Dips? Stuck-at-home people driving demand for financial advice - St. James's Place

10/27/2020 | 05:18am

LONDON (Reuters) - While uncertainty over major world events including the U.S. election and Brexit talks is making investors jittery, it is creating a greater need for professional financial advice, the boss of wealth manager St. James's Place said.

The CBOE Volatility Index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, scaled a seven-week peak on Monday on worries over a spike in coronavirus cases and uncertainty about a fiscal relief bill in Washington before the election.

"All these things (macroeconomic uncertainties) will unsettle individuals and could change the timing of their decision to invest," SJP Chief Executive Andrew Croft told Reuters on Tuesday.

"But what it also does is if you are stuck at home watching the news, you don't have the knowledge that a financial advisor would have. You don't really know what's going on, so you reach out to someone you trust."

Listed on the UK bluechip index, SJP has over 4,000 financial advisors tending to 760,000 clients.

Croft's comments come after the company reported record funds under management of 118.7 billion pounds ($154.70 billion) as at the end of the third quarter. The pace of net inflows slowed, however, falling to 1.44 billion pounds from 2.11 billion pounds.

Shares in the company, which received calls from activist investor PrimeStone for a broad overhaul of its cost base earlier in the week, were 2.4% lower at 9.1 pounds by 0917 GMT.

JPMorgan analysts noted the quarter had been a tough one for asset gatherers in the UK, adding SJP's overall flows during the period were "a touch below expectations".

Asset managers recorded outflows that collectively ran into billions of dollars earlier in the year when market sentiment was dampened by concerns about the pandemic's impact on global economic growth.

However, a recovery has ensued since as governments across the world have pumped in money to get their economies up and running from an initial shock, with hopes of a vaccine also offering support.

(Reporting By Sinead Cruise in London and Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Simon Jessop and David Evans)

By Muvija M

© Reuters 2020
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