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St. James’s Posts Biggest Gain in More Than Year on Dividend

St. James’s Place Plc jumped the most in more than a year in London trading after the wealth manager boosted its first-half dividend by 50 percent.

The company will pay 6.38 pence a share for the six months to June 30 and may announce a similar increase at the full year, Chief Executive Officer David Bellamy said in a telephone interview today.

“Strong cash levels led us to increase our dividend and we expect the final dividend to follow suit,” Bellamy said.

St. James’s raised the dividend after a recruitment drive helped attract 1.99 billion pounds ($3 billion) of new money from clients in the period. First-half pretax profit increased 53 percent to 90.1 million pounds, the Cirencester, England-based company said in a statement.

The shares rose as much as 5.5 percent, the biggest gain since July 26, 2012, and closed up 4.1 percent at 618 pence. The shares have gained 47 percent this year.

Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, cut its stake in St. James’s place to 21 percent through two share sales in March and May. The wealth manager took a one-time charge of 6 million pounds in the period after Lloyds sold an initial 20 percent stake to bolster capital.

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