(Bloomberg) — St. James’s Place Plc has started talks with authorities in the Middle East to potentially create a base in the region.
“We have begun conversations with the relevant authorities and we will see if we can take that conversation further,” David Bellamy, chief executive officer of the U.K. wealth manager, said in a telephone interview.
The companyreported 1.38 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) of net inflows in the fourth quarter, sending assets under management to a record 52 billion pounds, according to a statement.
St. James’s Place last year bought Singapore-based advisory business Henley Group Ltd., giving them access to about 4,000 expatriate clients across Asia. Bellamy said in April that the London-based company may look for acquisitions in the Middle East, saying the “geographic constraint” on the business had been removed.
In the U.K., the company continued to benefit from a shift toward defined contribution pension plans and the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s changes to annuities and tax-deferred saving accounts. Investments in individual savings accounts, or ISAs, rose 33 percent in the fourth quarter to 754 million pounds from a year earlier.
“It’s been good for us,” said Bellamy. “From July, we can look forward to much bigger contribution into our ISA business. The chancellor has reinforced people taking responsibility for their pensions.”
The company reiterated its intention to increase the full-year dividend by 40 percent. The shares climbed 0.7 percent to 833 pence at 9:09 a.m. in London.