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UK’s largest wealth manager has been charging customers for services it doesn’t provide

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The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is currently analysing information from banks and building societies to ensure they comply with the Customer Duty rules, which require firms to ensure products and services deliver fair value to their customers.

St James’s Place, the UK’s largest wealth manager, has already been taken to task using the new consumer rules. Claims management firms are targeting the FTSE 100 company to help claw back fees SJP customers were charged but for which services were not received. One claims management firm has already clawed back £3.43 million on behalf of its clients.

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Yesterday, The Telegraph reported that the UK’s biggest wealth manager, St James’s Place (“SJP”), is now facing perhaps its toughest year because its share prices are plummeting and it is facing increased scrutiny for not delivering fair value to its customers.

Share Chart (price), St James’s Place, retrieved 28 September 2023

SJP’s charges have come under increased scrutiny amid the arrival of new consumer rules this summer that mean companies have to provide their clients with fair value for money or face action from the regulator.

In July, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) introduced its Consumer Duty, which requires firms to ensure the products and services across their range deliver fair value to their customers and act if they do not.

The FCA said it is concerned that some clients within the wealth management industry are paying for an ongoing service that does not represent value for money.

Clients should expect to see their adviser at least once a year in order to justify paying an annual fee. Financial reviews, a vital part of the ongoing advice process, are supposed to be carried out at least once a year if a client is paying their adviser annual fees.

Claims management firms are targeting SJP – suggesting that clients may have been charged annual fees without speaking to an adviser for years.

One firm, AMK Legal, says it has clawed back £3.43m in fees for its clients since the start of the year and warns that failure to provide an ongoing service is endemic across the financial advice industry.

AMK Legal’s Michael Jordan said the claim firm has helped a large number of SJP clients who have not had a full review with their adviser for years despite paying ongoing fees.

Jordan said fees-for-no-service was an issue across the wealth management industry but was particularly notable at SJP because it is a large brand “and its clients tend to be wealthier.”

History and Shareholders of St. James’s Place

St James’s Place Wealth Management (“SJP”) is a UK-based company that offers financial advice and services.  It is the biggest wealth manager in Britain. It was founded in 1991 by Sir Mark Weinberg, the late Mike Wilson and Lord Rothschild under the name of the J. Rothschild Assurance Group. 

Sir Mark Weinberg is the Life President of SJP.  He is a South African-born British financer. As well as co-founding SJP, he founded Abbey Life Assurance Company and Hambro Life Assurance (Allied Dunbar).

Lord Rothschild, or Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild (“NCJR”), worked at the family bank N M Rothschild & Sons, before resigning in 1980 due to a family dispute. His distant cousin Sir Evelyn Robert de Rothschild gained majority voting shares in the flagship of the Rothschild banking group.  When Sir Evelyn retired as head of N M Rothschild & Sons of London in 2003, the British and French financial firms merged under the leadership of David René de Rothschild, a member of the French branch of the Rothschild family.  In 2023, Rothschild & Co. was de-listed; three of France’s wealthiest dynasties – the Dassault, Peugeot and Wertheimer families – purchased Rothschild & Co. shares listed on stock exchanges to take the company private.

After resigning from the family bank in 1980, NCJR went on to co-found J. Rothschild Assurance Group which later became St. James’s Place plc.  His biography on The Rothschild Archive concludes: “From his headquarters in St James’s Place in London, Lord Rothschild has cultivated an influential set of clients, business associates and friends.”

The headquarters of RT Capital Partners, which NCJR took control over after the family dispute, is in Spencer House at 27 St James’s Place, London, which was also the registered office of SJP until 1998 according to filings with Companies House.  The change in the location of SJP’s headquarters from 27 St James’s Place to Cirencester possibly resulted from SJP being listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1997.

In 2000, Lloyds Banking Group (formerly the Halifax Group and later HBoS) purchased 60% of SJP’s shares.  Lloyds sold its remaining stake in SJP in 2013. As a listed company, SJP is now owned by its shareholders and institutional investors.

Further reading: St. James’s Place Capital, plc History, Funding Universe

According to Yahoo Finance, 311 institutions hold 73% of SJP’s shares.  The largest shareholder is Vanguard (2%), followed by MFS (1%), iShares Core (0.8%), Artisan International (0.5%) and Grandeur Peak International Stalwarts (0.5%).

Vanguard is a privately held company. Shareholders own Vanguard through ownership in Vanguard’s funds. As of 31 August, Vanguard had 430 funds worldwide. As at 31 March 2023, these funds held assets under management valued at US$7.6 trillion.

Earlier this month, Statista reported that the largest of Vanguard’s funds is the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, which is divided into seven different products that held assets under management of approximately US$1.4 trillion.  26% of the fund’s shares are held by the top ten shareholders:

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTI), Holdings, Yahoo Finance, retrieved 28 September 2023

Vanguard boasts it “is made up of more than 50 million investors.”  Included in this number are in the region of 60,000 “flagship clients” who, to qualify, have invested $1 million or more in Vanguard funds.

Read more: Building an Empire – The Vanguard Group, The Exposé, 9 September 2021

It’s worth noting that although Vanguard itself is not listed as a partner of the World Economic Forum (“WEF”) it is still very much a part of WEF’s network.  In 2022, Vanguard became a founding member of WEF’s Global Parity Alliance, a cross-industry group of companies committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI” or “DE&I”) in the workplace and beyond.  DEI also forms part of environmental, social, and corporate governance (“ESG”) according to Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum.

At the Alliance’s launch, Zahidi said: “An integral part of accelerating the movement for the “S” in ESG will come from building truly diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces, value chains and products. The Global Parity Alliance is the platform for CEOs to lead the charge on DE&I, set ambitious targets, learn from lighthouse examples, and inspire others to join a growing movement. As labour markets recover, DE&I must be at the heart of a new future of work.”

The misconceived practice of affirmative action is very much alive and well among WEF supporters.  WEF’s 2023 survey of 803 companies stated: “A majority of companies will prioritise women (79%), youth under 25 (68%) and those with disabilities (51%) as part of their DEI programmes. A minority will prioritise those from a disadvantaged religious, ethnic or racial background (39%), workers over age 55 (36%), those who identify as LGBTQI+ (35%) and those from a low-income background (33%).”  Presumably, only WEF members were surveyed.

The fixation to prioritise employment for one group automatically discriminates against another. It is “check box” diversity which is bad for people, society, companies and economies.  It is affirmative action or reverse discrimination and is unlawful when put into effect in the absence of a demonstrated history of discrimination.

DEI is also against our human rights as well as our inalienable rights.  Human rights may suffer adjustment according to the whims of positive or man-made law.  Inalienable rights, however, cannot be removed or altered.

In June 2019, the UN and WEF signed a strategic partnership to accelerate the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.  It would therefore be reasonable to expect WEF and its members to adhere, at the very least, to the human rights noted in 1948 by the UN:

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Article 23(1):Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations, 10 December 1948

Apart from righting the obvious wrongs of taking money for nothing, are we glad that claims management firms are targeting SJP and clawing back fees for services they didn’t provide?  Are we glad the SJP’s share price has fallen and it is facing its toughest year? Yes, because, hopefully, it means less in the pockets of shareholders when dividends are next paid.

Although this hint of justice is woefully small in comparison to injustices such as DEI that at least one of SJP’s major shareholders is attempting to impose on Western populations, it is satisfying to see them paying something back even if it is to their wealthy clients, some of whom may also be guilty of DEI offences.

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2 months ago

The world is full of children masquerading as adults. Which leads to children teaching their children garbage. Children who are too busy being entertained by TV, pub activities, following the orders of criminals etc instead of taking responsibility beyond the “must acquire fake money” mentality. 
An adult knows how to protect his family. Feed his property. Educate his property. 
If the child masquerading as an adult can’t protect himself, it stands to reason, he can’t protect those who rely on his protection.
There is a series of videos by the lawyer in this attachment teaching children how to protect themselves, and thus have the ability to protect those who rely on their protection. It would be wise to refrain from childish entertainment by putting that wasted time towards something beneficial and productive.

raj patel
raj patel
2 months ago

FCA have failed on multiple occasions to prevent financial fraud i.e.

And seem unwilling to perform their duties to protect the customer:
The Financial Conduct Authority found no evidence that banks are dropping customers for their political opinions, in a preliminary review after former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage lost his account with Coutts.

2 months ago

[…] – UK’s largest wealth manager has been charging customers for services it doesn’t provide […]

8 days ago

[…] Both terms have become increasingly politicised and weaponised. [Note from RW: From the outset, the ideology of DEI and ESG was politicised and weaponised, however, it was not reported in these terms until the agenda and its proponents were exposed.  See an article we previously published titled ‘UK’s largest wealth manager has been charging customers for services it doesn’t provide’] […]