SJP seeks to broaden its appeal by dropping ‘exclusive’ wealth management tag

‘Wealth management is a dated term that places emphasis on the money rather than the client’

SJP

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St James’s Place has ditched the wealth management descriptor from its corporate name as it seeks to appeal to a wider audience that finds the term too “exclusive”.

SJP revealed its new look via its website last week. A spokesperson told Portfolio Adviser the makeover is a brand “refresh” rather than a rebrand “meaning it’s an evolution of our visual identity”. That means new logos, colours, imagery and content.

The SJP spokesperson says the term wealth management can be off putting for some clients.

“SJP and our partnership represent a broad range of clients and our research showed that whilst many of our partner brands and their clients identified with and understood the term wealth management, there were an equal number that preferred less exclusive terms such as financial planner or adviser.”

It is not the first time the FTSE 100 advice giant has changed its name. It started its life in 1992 as J Rothschild Assurance Group and only became St James’s Place Capital in 2001 and then St James’s Place Wealth Management in 2006.

‘Wealth management is a dated term’

Bear Content chief executive and founder Martin Bamford, a chartered financial planner and content creator, says dropping wealth management “modernises the otherwise traditional SJP branding”.

SJP’s famous lion (pictured) and topiary gardens are among the imagery on its website that might be associated with an outdated image of the industry. Although the lion exists in the new branding, its dominance has been reduced to a watermark, and the imagery has been updated to focus on people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

“’Wealth management’ is a dated term that places emphasis on the money rather than the client,” Bamford says. “While arguably their current brand does what it says on the tin, as SJP is very much about managing wealth, the modern narrative is around financial planning and wellbeing.”

Others argue they don’t see SJP as a wealth manager.

CWC Research director Clive Waller says he considers wealth managers to be the likes of UBS, Barclays and Rathbones where clients typically have upwards of £1m. Nevertheless, Waller thought many SJP clients might appreciate having a “wealth manager”.

SJP partners may still use wealth management in branding

Although SJP’s name is being changed at the corporate level, partners will be able to choose the term that best suits their brand and business.

SJP says despite the name change and brand refresh there will not be changes at an operational level.

“Clients will still meet with their partner face-to-face whenever possible, and continue to access the information they need, including their investments, in exactly the same way as before,” the spokesperson says.

But Bamford says it is a shame SJP didn’t use the brand refresh as an opportunity “to shift their focus away from selling financial products and towards a more holistic approach”.

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