St James's rockets from pounds 12m to pounds 81m

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The Independent Online
ST JAMES'S Place Capital, the investment and life assurance group run by Sir Mark Weinberg and Jacob Rothschild, increased pre-tax profit from pounds 12.3m to pounds 81.1m, in a performance that it admitted was 'not necessarily repeatable', writes John Willcock.

The group is keen to buy insurance companies, which it reckons it can run more cheaply by centralising operations.

SJPC made one-off profits of pounds 26.5m by spinning off its remaining holding in RIT Capital Partners (RITCP), Lord Rothschild's original investment vehicle.

The group's net asset value per share increased by nearly 30 per cent to 86.3p and the internally managed portfolio of pounds 200m of equities and bonds contributed pounds 26.6m pre-tax against pounds 9.7m last time. Director Clive Gibson stressed the group's dependence on the level of the stock market. 'The water's been extremely choppy this year. We've held our own pretty well but clearly it's not going to be like last year.'

The group wants to shift its emphasis away from investment towards financial services, principally life assurance and investment management.

Life assurance turned a loss of pounds 2.9m last time into a profit of pounds 11.7m. Investment management also saw improved profits, up from pounds 14.2m to pounds 27.7m.

The group is paying a final dividend of 1.5p, making an unchanged 3p for the year. The shares rose 7p to 155p.