St. James’s Place Plc (STJ) rallied to a an all-time high in London trading after the money manager said shareholders can expect a higher dividend payout in 2014.
St. James’s Place raised its full-year dividend 50 percent to 15.96 pence a share and said it plans to increase the payout 30 to 40 percent in 2014, the Cirencester, England-based company said in a statement today. Funds under management climbed 27 percent to a record 44.3 billion pounds ($74 billion). Profit before shareholder tax rose 42 percent to 190.7 million pounds.
“The cash is now beginning to come through for shareholders,” Chief Executive Officer David Bellamy said in a telephone interview. The company has had “really strong, sustainable growth. That’s why we are able to make the statement that we can make regarding our dividend.”
The stock jumped 5.1 percent to 835 pence in London, closing at its highest level since at least 1991 and extending its rally this year to 15 percent. With a market value of 4.3 billion pounds, the money manager and insurer is expected to join the FTSE 100 Index as soon as March after Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) sold its stake in the company in December, according to Barrie Cornes, an analyst at Panmure Gordon Ltd.
Bellamy said the company is in advanced talks to buy the Henley Group Ltd., an advisory business that oversees about 400 million pounds and has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai and 4,000 expatriate clients. He declined to elaborate.
He also said the investment committee will disclose in the next three weeks its decision on who will manage the 4.5 billion pounds of client funds overseen by Invesco Ltd. (IVZ)’s Neil Woodford. Woodford, whose announced departure from Invesco last year wiped almost $1 billion off the the firm’s market value, is due to join Oakley Capital Investments Ltd. in May.
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