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St. James's Place - can I do better?

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St. James's Place - can I do better?

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Savings & Investments
121 replies 73.3K views
JohndonutsJohndonuts Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Savings & Investments
Hello all. I am looking for a bit of advice on fund management. I am currently with St. James's Place, but they take 4% upfront on any investments, and there's a management fee of 2% plus an exit fee for first 6 years.
After the 6 year period is up, I am thinking about moving this money, and investing more. I want to avoid such a high upfront fee, if this is at all possible?
I have read a bit of bad press about St. James's Place, not had any problems with them yet, so it's not an issue of mistrust, just wonder if I can do any better?
Any advice on reputable fund managers would be great. Because I don't know where to start.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
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  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    In answer to your question: yes!

    SJP have a reputation on here for high charges and limited range of investments.

    Assuming you're not confident enough (yet) to DIY, your next best bet (if you have a sizable pot to invest) will be to engage an independent financial adviser to guide you where to invest, either on a one-off or ongoing basis. 'Independent' is the key word here, SJP are advisers who aren't independent and so their advice isn't based on the whole market.

    The best way to find an IFA is via personal recommendation but there are various guides at the likes of https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/choosing-a-financial-adviser#how-to-find-a-financial-adviser and https://www.moneywise.co.uk/find-an-ifa plus directory sites like https://www.unbiased.co.uk and https://www.vouchedfor.co.uk

    Find several who are local to you and meet them on a no-fee no-obligation initial meeting basis and see who you like the look of....
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    St. James's Place - can I do better?

    In respect of charges, SJP is one of the most expensive distriubtion channels going. So, anyone can do better.
    I have read a bit of bad press about St. James's Place, not had any problems with them yet, so it's not an issue of mistrust, just wonder if I can do any better?

    They do what they say. You just pay through the nose for it. IFAs love coming across SJP clients for that reason.
    Any advice on reputable fund managers would be great. Because I don't know where to start.

    Now this is where it falls down for you as DIY works well when you know what you are doing. Just like any job you DIY, if you do it badly it can end up a mess and more costly. So, the choice should always be DIY or IFA. Not sales reps from SJP.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • OldMusicGuyOldMusicGuy Forumite
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    I can only endorse what Dunstonh and eskbanker say. IMO SJP are for people that are easily seduced by slick salespeople and respond to their "image". They are very expensive for what they do with a limited range of funds/investment options.

    I have a large SIPP pot and don't want to pay fees to an IFA at reasonable levels, let alone the outrageous (IMO) SJP charges. I have paid for one-off financial advice and been happy with that.
  • JohndonutsJohndonuts Forumite
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    Goodness, I was wondering if anyone at all would reply to my first post, so I'm really pleasantly surprised! Thank you all so much for your input and advice.
    My dealings with St. James's Place are through money left in trust. And now I am thinking of investing more money over the next few years when an endowment pays out, and a fixed rate ISA term ends etc. So tens of thousands of pounds from other channels, including a large lump sum in trust. 7% is roughly what it is making annually, with a medium risk? Not really understanding what medium risk is, hopefully my money won't vanish over night.
    To be honest I have very little knowledge of investing money, and have wasted time I feel putting money in low interest accounts. I need to either learn fast how to better invest my money, or find another company who can invest this money wisely so I don't have to think about it too much, or make bad/costly decisions.


    I think a local financial advisor might be the way to go, as it is very difficult to know which company to approach. My parents chose St. James's Place many years ago, possibly through recommendation, and the solicitor they use is another terribly high fee company, and unfortunately make nothing but mistakes, and quite literally drive me mad having to correct what they have done wrong. They are most definitely not worth the money, but we are stuck with them.
    Now here's the funny bit, the last trust advisor at St. James's Place laughed at this solicitors fees, and remarked at how high they are! LOL Well, you have to laugh...takes one to know one.


    Thank you for all the links, I will have a good look at those, see if I can go from there and get a pointer to another company who can make more of this money, and perhaps not take so such a large % up front or in fees.


    Wonderful site, you are so nice to reply so quickly. Really wasn't expecting anything, so thank you all so very much! :-)
  • edited 26 May 2018 at 8:40AM
    SeniorSamSeniorSam Forumite
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    edited 26 May 2018 at 8:40AM
    Johndonuts
    When investing in Trusts, do try to obtain investments that have 'growth' and not 'income', as income will be taxed in the Trust.

    My wife and I set u a Loan Trust a few years ago and selected 'Funds' within our risk profile. Depending on the actual Trust, the Trustees can authorise loans or gifts from the Trust to whoever they wish. For an example, if a Trust had investments in Funds, the Trustees could authorise a loan of any amount to 'whoever', (including the settlor), as long as all trustees agree. That 'loan' would then be repayable to the Trust from that borrowers estate when they die.

    Trusts can be very useful, particularly in helping with inheritance tax planning, but care is needed in setting them up correctly. In many cases, Trusts are not needed, so they are not suitable for everyone.
    I'm a retired IFA who specialised for many years in Inheritance Tax, Wills and Trusts. I cannot offer advice now, so my comments are just meant to be helpful.
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • JohndonutsJohndonuts Forumite
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    Hi again, I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for good reputable wealth management companies? I have money in a trust, but now am being forced to take some out as the other person named on the trust wishes to take money out. I do not wish to reinvest with St James's Place, as they want a minimum of 4% upfront.
    I hope to fine another wealth management company who has lower overall fees. I will go to a financial advisor, but at the moment just don't have time, and am being pressed to act quickly due to this other person needing access to cash quickly.
    Any pointers to other companies would be great. Thanks in advance.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    I hope to fine another wealth management company who has lower overall fees.

    Companies that refer to themselves as a wealth management company tend to be restricted and expensive.

    The choice is either to DIY or use an IFA. Other options should be eliminated.

    Most local IFAs will be fine. Main issue is really costs rather than quality. Some can be greedy. Others reasonable. So, phone a few and find out the costs.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • bowlhead99bowlhead99 Forumite
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    Johndonuts wrote: »
    .
    I hope to fine another wealth management company who has lower overall fees. I will go to a financial advisor, but at the moment just don't have time, and am being pressed to act quickly due to this other person needing access to cash quickly.
    Any pointers to other companies would be great. Thanks in advance.
    You seem to be going about this the wrong way and likely to make the same mistake you made in choosing SJP and ending up with a high cost solution. Just a different brand of high cost solution.

    An independent financial advisor will consult with you and help you understand your options, which it sounds like you need. What is the point in putting another load of money with another wealth manager picked out of a hat, potentially incurring large entry fees, exit fees or minimum periods, just for the couple of months it takes to get around to seeing some IFAs and selecting one of them? How would you have time to go and meet with a wealth management firm and get comfortable with what they propose to do for you, if you wouldn't have time to go and meet with an IFA and get comfortable with what they propose to do for you?

    If cash is coming out of the trust into your own pocket (because another beneficiary is also keen to take money out of the trust and the trustee is going to give it you both at once), there is not necessarily an urgency about it on your side that couldn't wait a few weeks.

    OK, for example £100k arrives in your bank account and you don't know which wealth manager to give it to. You keep it in your bank account for a couple of months while waiting to find time in your calendar to meet some IFAs, and as the interest rate on cash vs the rate of return on investments is low, it is a bit of a missed opportunity. But say the rate of return on a mixed bag of investments is 6% a year. After two months idle, you have 'missed' 2/12ths of a year's return: 1% return. On £100k, that's £1k. But no wealth manager is really going to touch your £100k without wanting to charge you at least £1k to get going anyway.

    So you are not really down, just by sitting on the cash until you have time to deal with it properly, rather than giving it to the shiniest big brand wealth manager with the best adverts that you found through an MSE forums tip.

    It is nowhere near the end of a tax year yet. So if SJP have not used up your current year ISA and pension allowances, IHT gift allowances, VCT allowances etc, and you still have those to play with, you are not going to suddenly lose them through a couple of weeks or months of inaction. So I would still suggest that when your other trust beneficiary takes their trust proceeds in cash, and your take your trust proceeds in cash, and they go off and spend their cash on whatever they need or want if for... you *don't* just slap it into the hands of the first 'wealth manager' you find. Simply keep it in cash while thinking on it.

    You were told before that the obvious choices are DIY investing or investing through an IFA (the IFA may or may not utilise a discretionary fund management service). However, holding it in cash while deciding what to do is a valid state to be in at a point in time. Inflation and missed stockmarket returns are not going to destroy the value of your trust proceeds in the time it takes you to get a meeting with two or three IFAs over the next month or quarter.
  • steampoweredsteampowered Forumite
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    Don't assume that the exit fee means you can't change for 6 years.

    It might be the case that it is worth paying the exit fee in order to avoid paying the annual charge for 6 years.

    An IFA should be able to do the maths and help you work out what is best.

    I am probably going to get slaughtered for this statement by other posters, but to be perfectly honest, you could do much worse than simply sticking the money into a vanguard tracker fund (assuming you are investing for the long term and happy to accept the risk of market ups and downs) ...
  • OldMusicGuyOldMusicGuy Forumite
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    Johndonuts wrote: »
    Hi again, I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for good reputable wealth management companies? I have money in a trust, but now am being forced to take some out as the other person named on the trust wishes to take money out. I do not wish to reinvest with St James's Place, as they want a minimum of 4% upfront.
    I hope to fine another wealth management company who has lower overall fees. I will go to a financial advisor, but at the moment just don't have time, and am being pressed to act quickly due to this other person needing access to cash quickly.
    Any pointers to other companies would be great. Thanks in advance.
    The worst thing you can do is rush into a decision like this without doing research and making an informed decision. Following random advice on the internet is the worst thing you can do.

    Why not just put the money somewhere safe (like NS&I) for the time being while you decide what to do? Waiting a few weeks while you you educate yourself a bit more will make no difference to a long-term investment (which I assume this is).
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