St James’s Place

review: is it any good?

Updated on
November 28, 2022

In a nutshell

St James’s Place is the largest wealth manager in the UK. It’s got great financial advisors up and down the country with excellent customer service. They’ll determine the best investment strategy for you and manage everything too. They have a good record of growing your money over time, and the fees are reasonable. 4 stars from us.

Our rating

St James’s Place rated 4 stars
Nutty

St James’s Place

cracked open 🥥

Keen to invest and grow your money, but have no idea where to start? That’s where St James’s Place and financial advisors come in. And the good ones are worth their weight in gold.

What’s a financial advisor?

Financial advisors will work with you to determine the best investment strategy for you – it’s completely personalised. They do this by getting to know you, your family and your financial circumstances. Most importantly they will listen and understand what it is you want to achieve in the future: your goals.

Your financial goals are often things like a safe and secure retirement with a decent income, for both you and your partner. And, things like how your wealth (money) might be passed down to your children (and grandchildren) in the most tax-efficient way.

What’s a financial advisor?

You might want to grow your money as fast as possible while you’re young, and retire early (who wouldn’t?). Or maybe you want a nice consistent income while you’re still working. The possibilities are quite endless. And that’s what a financial advisor is for – to understand you and your goals, and then build a strategy to achieve them!

When to use a financial advisor

Using a financial advisor can be incredibly valuable, but they aren’t for everyone. They’re normally suited to those with a bit more in savings in general due to the costs involved.

If you’re just starting out investing and don’t have much in savings yet, you’ve got lots of options to invest with the help of experts – check out Wealthify¹, where you can get started with just £1, and our best investment apps for more options.

If you’ve got some savings already, anywhere up to £30,000, you might want to hold out a bit longer before using a financial advisor. Consider using an expert-managed investment platform too, for instance, the highly rated Moneyfarm¹.

Anything above this, or if you’ve got a personal pension (a pension in your name rather than from your workplace), or a large workplace pension from a previous job, you’ll likely benefit from financial advice with an advisor such as St James’s Place.

Workplace and personal pensions

They will grow your money and help plan for yours and your family’s financial future (we cover the benefits of advice below).

About St Jame’s Place

St James’s Place is the largest financial advice firm in the UK. There’s nearly 5,000 fully qualified advisors and they help over 900,000 people. That’s a lot!

St Jame’s Place review

St James’s Place looks after a staggering £142 billion – that's all their customers' money added together. This puts it as one of the top 100 companies in the UK (together these companies are called the FTSE 100).

The good thing about (very) large firms like this is the advice and customer service is a pretty consistent standard, and with St James’s Place, the standard is very high. You can trust you’ll be looked after by a true professional. There’s a reason why they’re so popular.

Alongside your advisor, you’ll also be able to track your investments whenever you like too on their website (and hopefully a mobile app in future).

Let’s dive into the details to see if St James’s Place is the right place for you and your hard earned money.

How St James’s Place works

On the surface, it’s simple: you speak to a financial advisor, and they’ll determine the best place to put your money to help you achieve your financial goals. Your advisor will be in regular contact while they’re working on growing your money over the long-term.

Financial advice benefits

There’s many benefits to financial advice – it can ‘pay dividends’ over the long term with the right advisor, rather than investing yourself, and especially when compared to not investing at all. 

The key benefits are that a financial advisor has the knowledge, skills and experience in investing that most people simply do not have – it’s a very complicated topic. That means your money can grow more quickly, but also it means you don’t have to spend the time or energy learning or managing your own money, for potentially less return (how much your money grows) – so you can spend more time living life.

Let’s run through the main areas of what St James’s Place does:

Long-term investment focus

Using a financial advisor is for achieving your financial goals in the future. It’s long-term investing, using tried and tested investment strategies to grow your wealth over time – and they are very good at it. You just put your feet up, relax and watch your money grow.

Investing – Long-term performance

Advice on investment account options

In the UK, there’s quite a range of investment accounts on offer (all with different advantages, like being tax-free). Your advisor will be super helpful and create the right mix of accounts and determine how much to invest into each of them to fully benefit from all the tax benefits, for both you and your family (now and in the future). These are things like an ISA (Instant Savings Account) and a pension.

Avoiding investment scams

Although everyone likes to think of themselves as smart and could never be fooled, investment scams do happen, and to very smart people – even experienced investors can get fooled.

Millions of pounds are lost every year to scams – often because the investment looks exactly the same as a genuine investment. However with St James’s Place, they manage their own investments, so your money is perfectly safe (more on that below).

Confidence to invest

Investing is complicated, hard, and quite frankly, scary! There’s a lot to learn, and a lot of ‘jargon’ out there too. Many of us in the UK aren’t taught about finances or money in general, and our confidence to invest is pretty low – even though it’s seen as the best way to grow your money over time (much better than leaving it in your bank account doing nothing!).

When you use an advisor like St James’s Place, you can feel confident that your money is in safe hands. Each advisor is fully qualified and has many years of experience.

The right investment portfolio for you

Your investment portfolio is what type of investments you actually have, and this is where advisors really earn their money. An advisor will look at your long-term goals (such as having a nice big retirement income), and work out the optimal investment portfolio to achieve them.

This is often determined by levels of risk within the portfolio and the range of investment (don’t let the word risk put you off!). With higher risk, you’ll likely have bigger ups and downs in the short-term, but the aim is more growth in the long term. With lower risk, the aim is slow and steady growth over time. Ultimately, it’s about finding the right balance between risk and return for you.

St James’s Place advice

Let’s dive into the advice St James’s Place offers, their advisors and their customer service.

First of all, let’s quickly define what an independent financial advisor is. They’re someone who helps with your long-term financial goals but often works for themselves (they are independent of any one investment company).

They have a duty to provide “‘a comprehensive and fair analysis of the market”. Which means they have to look at pretty much every investment opportunity that exists (or at least a wide range) before they can make recommendations.

They don’t manage these investments themselves, they just provide advice, and then buy the investments on your behalf.

With St James’s Place, the advisors all work for St James’s Place. This means they do not have the same ‘duty’ to search every investment option out there, they are not independent (as they work for an investment firm), and this is called ‘restricted’ advice. 

They will make recommendations from the range of investment options that St James’s Place manages itself (more on this later).

This doesn’t impact any of the investment strategies they recommend, how they make up the right portfolio for you, or which investment account is right for you. Everything is the same, and you could even expect better service as it’s a larger firm. Ultimately, whether it’s an investment that St James’s Place manages or not, it will be suited to achieving your long term goals.

All advisors are local to you, up and down the country, there’s nearly 5,000. And being a large firm, their standards for service are very high, in fact 80% of their own customers rated them as excellent or good (more on customer reviews later).

St James’s Place locations

The way St James’s Place works is that they’re your partner when it comes to investing. When your investments grow, so do their charges (more on that later), and so they want you to stay with them for a long time.

This means you get the 5 star treatment that’s all tailored to you – if you like regular catch ups, you’ll have regular catch ups, if you don’t, you won’t. They’re available to chat and provide advice whenever you like – they’re there for you. As an added bonus, there's a budget for little treats, things like golf days (if you play) or other things suited to your interests.

Tax advice

Alongside financial advice for how best to invest, St James’s Place will also provide advice on the best way to make the most out of your money, and more importantly, how to pay less tax. Legally of course!

For instance, they’ll advise how best to structure your pension payments to make the most out of all of your tax-free allowances across the years. And recommend other tax-free accounts that can help your money grow quicker. They'll also help your loved ones pay less inheritance tax when you pass away (sorry to put a downer on things).

As well as things like how to save tax if you get a bonus, or shares and share options in a company. And, if you own your own business, how best to pay yourself. And of course, how best to take money out of your pension when you retire. This list goes on!

Tax is a complicated area in general, and there’s value in advice – potentially saving you and your family a significant amount of cash.

St James’s Place investments

When investing for the long-term, you’ll most likely invest in investment funds, these are groups of investments all packaged together into one easy to buy and understand investment (funds are also much cheaper than buying all the investments in them individually).

Investment funds are super popular across the world, whichever financial advisor you use. If you have any investments at all, they’ll most likely be in investment funds.

The type of investments (assets) included in them are things like:

Stocks and shares (equities): where you buy a small part (a share) of a company, that can increase in value and can pay out its profits to the owners (the shareholders).

St James's Place stocks and shares

Bonds: where you effectively loan money to large businesses and governments in return for interest.

Property: often commercial property that pays regular income (rent).

Commodities: real things like gold and silver.

Note: these categories of investments are also called asset classes.

With St James’s Place, they have a wide range of investment funds all tailored to achieve different investment goals. Your advisor will determine which is best for you.

Investment fund management

The funds available with St James’s Place are all managed by experts, and they’ll decide which investments go into the fund, for instance which stocks and shares or bonds to buy. 

And, they’ll constantly review the performance of the investments and adjust them to make sure the investments are achieving the goals of the fund (which is often long-term growth).

The experts managing the funds are some of the best in the world. They are invited to manage an investment fund exclusively for St James’s Place. This means they don’t technically work for St James’s Place, they are external fund managers.

This has huge benefits for St James’s Place, as it gives them the freedom to choose the best fund managers suitable for each fund, wherever in the world they might be. And, this means the funds can benefit from a wide range of different investment styles.

The experts themselves are reviewed and monitored by The St. James’s Place Investment Committee – which is an independent group of more investment experts, who’s job is simply to make sure the experts handling customers' money are at the top of their game. It might be safe to say, your money is in safe hands!

St. James’s Place Investment Committee

And just to be clear, the experts managing the investment funds are completely different from your financial advisor, their only job is to manage the funds and grow their value over time. Your advisor's job is to decide which type of investment funds are right for you.

Investment options

The investment funds are all designed to suit specific types of customers and their financial goals. These funds are grouped into core investment themes, which are selected for you based on your short and long term objectives (to grow your money over time, and to ensure you don’t pay any more tax than you need to).

Just to recap, an investment fund is where lots of investors' money is pooled together, and investments are bought within the fund itself, making it super easy to invest in a wide range of assets, or a specific set of assets, by just investing in the fund itself (don't worry if this doesn't make sense).

The funds are built around different levels of risk to suit different investors, and then held within one of the core investment themes. We’ll cover the investment performance of the funds later.

Let’s run through the types of investment options (don’t worry, your advisor will actually decide the best options for you):

Investment bond

This is a simple option for long-term financial planning, particularly when it comes to managing tax. It provides the ability to invest in a wide range of investments, across different types of asset classes (e.g. stocks and shares, and property).

You have the option for potential growth of your money, a regular income, or a mix of both. 

How much tax you’ll save (if any) depends on your personal circumstances, and your total balance will fluctuate up and down over time depending on the investment performance. Which is the same for all investment options. (More on the performance below.)

Investment ISA

These are a great option to save for the future, where everything you make is completely tax-free. This will likely form the core of your investment portfolio, and you can invest in a wide range of investments. There’s a limit on how much you can save per tax year however (£20,000).

What is an ISA?

By the way, ISA stands for Instant Savings Account. It’s a government scheme to help you save and invest. These are also called Stocks & Shares ISAs.

If you’ve got kids, you can save for their future too, with a Junior ISA. This is an account all in their name, which they can access when they’re 18.

Unit Trust

This option is similar to an ISA, except there’s no tax benefits from the government (i.e. £20,000 tax free). Although there can still be many tax advantages.

You can invest as much as you like, and you still have a wide range of investments (also called Unit Trusts – effectively the same investment funds). You might use this account if you have used up your tax-free allowance on your ISA in a given year.

Pension

This is a dedicated investment account just for retirement, with a lot of benefits. You won’t pay any tax as the money grows inside, and the government even gives you a 25% bonus every time you add to it (yes, really!). You can hold a wide range of investments within a pension too.

However, you can’t access the money until you’re 55 (57 from 2028), although if left until you retire it could grow much more. And you can even keep your money invested after you retire.

Offshore investments

If you’re planning to live outside of the UK, an expat, or for various tax reasons, you can also hold investments outside of the UK within an international investment account (bond). There’s a range of investments, including both growth and to provide a regular income.

Investment performance

Got a sense of how St James’s Place works, and their investment options? Let’s see how good the investments actually are.

To do this, we’ll use medium-risk investment options, as they feature in most people's portfolios – especially pensions.

One of the core funds of St James’s Place is their ‘balanced’ pension fund. And it’s big, with almost £5 billion within it.

It’s also actively managed, which means their experts are constantly reviewing the investments and making changes – so a good one to review their experts’ performance too.

Technically it’s called ‘SJP Balanced Managed Pn Acc’, and you can find the investment performance of all their funds on the St James’s Place website.

So, let’s compare it with the industry in general – with the average of all similar funds (that aren’t managed by St James’s Place). Here’s how it looks:

St James's Place investment performance

(Data from FE fundinfo. October 2022).

Charts can be a bit confusing, but what it shows is that this St James’s Place fund has grown pretty well over the last 10 years, and in-line with the industry in general. In fact, it trends higher for almost all of the last 10 years.

Currently, the industry average is a 71% return over the last 10 years, and this fund has grown by 71.92% – so ahead by nearly 1% after the advice charges. Not bad. In fact, that’s pretty much exactly what you should expect.

Remember, St James’s Place is all about long-term, safe and sensible growth over time, not growth at all costs and risking too much of your hard earned money. The value is in advisors helping you navigate the complicated world of investing and using the right strategies to grow your wealth.

That’s why looking at specific funds is useful, but in reality you’re going to have your money invested in a range of different funds, in a combination unique to you. 

Some funds won’t perform well, and some funds will perform exceptionally well. But importantly, your portfolio will be suitably diversified so that a poor performing fund doesn’t impact your total growth that much – that’s one of the reasons investment advice is so important.

And as a very rough guide, over the last 10 years, the average St James’s Place customer has made 7.7% per year after all the fees. That’s pretty good! We would be very happy with that – it means your money would have doubled. Much better than having it sit in a bank account right?

St James’s Place vs a robo-advisor

Considering using a robo-advisor such as Nutmeg? Or wondering what the difference is?

St James’s Place are a wealth manager, giving real financial advice for your specific financial circumstances and for your life and family. You can talk to them face-to-face and/or over the phone, they will tell you the best investment strategy for you, and then handle everything for you too. Plus, they’re there every step of the way as your wealth grows.

With a ‘robo-advisor’ (or simply called an investment app), they do not give financial advice. They don’t get to know you and your personal circumstances or advise the right investment strategy, portfolio or options for you. And there’s no advice services such as tax planning.

They are a platform (an app) for you to invest your money, with you making the decisions from a handful of investment options, and these options are often managed by the experts at the platform or a partner (such as J.P. Morgan with Nutmeg).

St James’s Place vs a robo-advisor

We think investment apps are great by the way, they’re simple and easy to use, and take the hard work out of investing yourself. They’re perfect if you’re just starting to invest, or are still building up your savings and pension. But, they’re not the same as a financial advisor, who can offer a much better service and wider range of options and advice – suited to those who do have lots of savings and a larger pension. 

Oh, and we don’t actually recommend Nutmeg itself, there’s better options out there, which you can find with our best investment platforms.

When it comes to investment performance, Nutmeg’s fully managed portfolio option, which is their experts managing the investments (so similar to St James’s Place), on their medium-risk level, has returned 37.5% over the last 10 years.

That’s 34.42% lower than if you had invested in the similar medium-risk balanced fund with St James’s Place that we reviewed above (71.92% increase). That is a massive difference. 

Even though Nutmeg fees are lower (1.1% per year), it doesn’t necessarily mean your money is going to grow more over time. It can be worth paying more for the right advice and better investment management. Let’s run though St James’s Place fees now.

St James’s Place fees

Overall, St James’s Place is pretty much bang in the middle fees wise with the average across all independent advisors, and cheaper compared to other large wealth management firms (Quilter PrivateClientAdvisers, Rathbones and RBC Brewin Dolphin).

St James’s Place charges

Here’s how the fees compare (we cover how we got these figures after):

Financial advisor Fee (average % over 10 years)
St James’s Place ISA 2.15%
St James’s Place pension 1.92%
Quilter PrivateClientAdvisers 2.27%
Rathbones 2.40%
RBC Brewin Dolphin 2.60%
Average independent advisor 2.14%

As a general rule, anywhere around 2% per year as a total fee (so all the fees for advice and investments) is a reasonable fee for a financial advisor that offers a fully advised service.

Here’s more detail on the fees in general: (unfortunately it is fairly complicated)

Advice fees

With St James’s Place, you’ll pay a fee for your dedicated advisor and their expertise, advice and recommendations – remember they handle everything for you.

For the initial discussion, follow on review and portfolio recommendations, you’ll pay 4.5% of your investment. And for ongoing account management with your advisor, it’s 0.5% per year.

Account fees

You’ll then pay a product charge, which is a management fee to hold investments with St James’s Place – or rather for them to hold your investments. For instance, they could open an ISA or a pension for you and hold your investments within this (plus all the admin to go with it). This is sometimes called a custody charge, or annual account fee.

Product charge

ISA & Unit Trust account fees

With an ISA and Unit Trust accounts, there’s a set up fee of 0.5% (plus investment fees described below). There’s no fees to withdraw cash.

Pension account fee

With a pension, there’s a set up fee of 1.5%, and then an ongoing fee per year of 1% (this ongoing fee is waived for the first 6 years).

Although, there’s something fairly unique to St James’s Place, if you withdraw from a pension within the first 6 years, you’ll pay an early withdrawal fee – in your first year you’ll pay 6%, and then 5% in the second year, etc, and then finally 1% in the 6th year.

You shouldn’t necessarily withdraw from a pension anyway, it’s for retirement! But something to be mindful of, as this fee is quite high.

Investment fees

You’ll then pay a fee within the investment funds themselves. Wherever you invest, and whichever investment fund you invest in, you’ll pay a fee, and these are often called fund fees, admin fees or ongoing charges.

It’s automatically deducted from the money within the fund itself, so you don’t have to worry about paying it. There will also be transaction fees when the fund buys and sells investments, and these are automatically collected too (and not generally very much).

These fees vary depending on the investment and the fund itself; how it works and what its goals are – which determines how much resources it needs (people managing it).

Fees comparison

All a bit complicated isn’t it? But ultimately what you’re paying for is the advice itself, the account (plus account management), and the ongoing relationship with your advisor and their expertise managing your money over time.

Here’s how we put together the comparison table above:

ISA fees

With an ISA, you’ll pay for the advice (4.5%) and the initial set up fee (0.5%), as one-off fees. And then the ongoing fee (0.5%) per year for the advisor. So, over 10 years (as we’re investing for the long-term), that would average out to 1% per year for advice fees (10% total).

And then depending on which investments you actually have, there will be the investment fee too. Let’s use the same example as above, and use the balanced investment fund, which is 1.15%.

So finally, that gives us 2.15% per year as an average fee over 10 years, for everything – that’s the total amount you’ll pay, which is pretty reasonable for financial advice.

Pension fees

With a pension, you’ll pay a one-off set up fee of 1.5%, and then 1% per year ongoing fee for the account, but this is waived for 6 years.

Let’s add the initial fee in again too, so a one-off fee of 4.5%, and the ongoing advisor fee of 0.5%. So over 10 years, that’s an average of 1.5% per year.

However, we need the investment fees too. Pension funds are different from ISAs, and these have lower fees. Using the pension version of the balanced managed fund, the fee is 0.42% per year. 

So, that’s a total of 1.92% per year as an average over 10 years. Again, fairly reasonable for financial advice and ongoing management.

Industry comparison

If we compare with another large wealth management firm, Quilter PrivateClientAdvisers – they charge an average of 2.27% over 10 years. They have a lower initial fee for advice (1%), but higher ongoing fees every year (1.07%). This includes investment fees.

And the two other large wealth management firms, Rathbones and RBC Brewin Dolphin, charge 2.4% and 2.6%. To be honest, we haven’t found any large wealth management firms that are cheaper!

And then comparing them with the average financial advisor (using research from the Financial Conduct Authority) – the average initial advice fee is 2.4%, the average ongoing fee for advice is 0.8%, and the average investment fee from funds that advisors recommend is 1.1%. So, adding all those together over a 10 year period, that would give 2.14% (so pretty much exactly the same as St James’s Place).

St James’s Place fees compared to competitors

However, that is an average, you may find some advisors cheaper, and you may find some more expensive. It’s becoming fairly common to charge a 3% initial fee, and then 1% per year as an ongoing fee just for advice, not including investment fees. Which is pretty expensive.

Fees summary

For the highly rated customer service St James’s Place offers, it’s looking pretty good value.

The only big issue is the ‘exit fees’ on the pension – if you wanted to withdraw before 6 years. So do take this into consideration.

By the way, you should be told all of the fees clearly and up front when you have your initial meeting or any follow up meetings – it’s part of the legal requirements, which applies to all financial advisors. We know it’s all confusing, but hopefully this has helped a bit. If you aren’t sure, just ask.

If you’re considering whether financial advice is right for you, an independent review (by Numis Securities research), found that it's worth 2% per year vs investing yourself (and that’s if you know about investing). Meaning that St James’s Place made 2% more per year after fees (over the last 10 years). Here’s a summary from the independent review to learn more.

Customer reviews

To get a good idea of the level of customer service and customer satisfaction in general, it’s a good idea to find out what their customers think.

We normally use Trustpilot, the popular reviews website, however St James’s Place only has 300 reviews there. Financial advice has another much more popular review platform, ‘vouchedfor’.

On vouchedfor, St James’s Place has got an awesome score of 4.9 out of 5! This is from over 20,000 reviews too. What’s great about vouchedfor is you can actually rate your advisor rather than the company itself, and they’re all getting consistently high scores. You can check it out for yourself on the vouchedfor website.

St James's Place Vouchedfor rating

And from a report from its own customers, it’s pretty great. 80% of people rated St James’s Place as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, 15% ‘reasonable’ and 5% ‘poor’. And according to St James’s Place themselves, just 5% of customers change to a different financial advisor, which is very low.

Customer support

The customer support in general is great.

On top of your financial advisor, you also get access to a customer support team, which are available during the daytime, and you can request a call back to suit you. Plus, you can even call when you're overseas.

St James’s Place customer support

Everything is phone-based, with fast response times (so no waiting on hold). Unfortunately, there’s no email or live-chat support, unless you email your advisor directly.

Is St James’s Place safe?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to use St James’s Place. It’s the largest financial advice firm in the UK. It’s so big, it’s actually one of the top 100 companies in the UK.

It’s authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Bank of England), and the Central Bank of Ireland. They’re responsible for making sure that every company that looks after your money and companies that give advice, are treating their customers fairly and properly – that means giving you the right advice for your circumstances and making sure your money is safe.

St James's Place is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Your money is also protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means if something should happen to St James’s Place, such as going out of business (extremely unlikely), you’ll get back up to £85,000 on any money they hold within your investment accounts, and 100% of your pension.

However, there’s even more protection, as your investments are actually held with a different firm, a very large reputable bank (State Street Bank). The investments are all in your name and can only be returned to you.

Plus, St James’s Place actually has a lot more money than they actually need – kept as a reserve fund should anything happen. It’s arguably one of the safest places to invest your money in the UK.

St James’s Place charitable work

St James’s Place also has a charitable foundation: the ‘St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation’. It’s a registered charity and pretty big too – it’s the 3rd largest corporate foundation in the UK and has donated over £100 million to charity – good work guys!

St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation

It helps small and medium sized charities across the UK with funding to carry out their own charitable work. Hundreds of charities get cash each year, and these charities include hospices, cancer charities and mental health charities.

You can learn lots more on the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation website.

St James’s Place pros and cons

Let’s have a quick recap and look at the pros and cons of St James’s Place.

Pros

  • Investments managed by experts
  • Expert financial advice
  • Excellent customer service
  • Reasonable annual fees
  • Good investment growth (in-line with average)

Cons

  • Exit fees if you move your pension in the first 6 years
  • Limited range of investment options (mostly St James’s Place own investments)
  • No email or live-chat support

Our thoughts

Investing your money is one of the best decisions you can make for your future, and here at Nuts About Money, we’re big advocates of getting the experts to handle your investments and pension, whether that’s a financial advisor, a ‘robo-advisor’, or anything in between. 

It’s very unlikely that by looking after your investments yourself, you’ll be able to make more money than the experts will (even taking into account the fees) – they’ve spent most of their professional lives learning and doing exactly that: growing people's money sensibly over time.

Investing is a complicated area, and there’s a lot to it; the right investment accounts, the right portfolio, the right risk levels for every stage of your life, and your financial goals. And most importantly, using the right risk management techniques within the investments themselves. It takes a long time to master, and believe it or not, most people end up losing money when buying stocks and shares themselves.

Better still, investing and finance in general is often boring and very time consuming. Using experts means you can forget all about it. Let the experts worry about it. If you do it yourself, you need to be constantly monitoring and adjusting your portfolio to reflect your investment strategy.

With St James’s Place, we think it’s one of the best options out there when it comes to financial advice. One of the key things most people look for is quality of advice and service, and they come out at the very top for both – there’s a reason they’re super popular with over 900,000 customers.

The investment performance is pretty much what you should expect, which is in-line with the industry and economy in general – steady growth over time (with ups and downs in line with the economy).

With long-term investing, that’s exactly what you want – you’re not looking for the highest return possible every year, that puts too much of your money at risk. That’s for high-risk investors, not people trying to grow their pension to have a better future.

So, peace of mind with your money and investments, great customer service, good investment returns over the long-term, all for a reasonable fee – around 2% per year (as an average over 10 years). Which is in line with the average independent financial advisor, and actually cheaper than other large wealth managers. It all sounds pretty great.

The only major downside is the pretty confusing fee structure, with some fees clear and some fees not so clear. Plus, the ‘exit fees’ on the pension, which means you can’t move your pension in the first 6 years (unless you pay the fee). 

So for that, plus the low technology options, such as no app (yet) to track your investments or email and live-chat support, we’re going to knock it down a star.

Overall, we recommend checking out St James’s Place if you’re looking for a financial advisor, and we’re giving it a solid 4 stars. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the St James’s Place website.

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