Wealth manager St James's Place is to overhaul its pay and perks programmes including axing benefits such as cruises and company cufflinks in order to promote "the right behaviours".
The ethical shake-up SJP's controversial incentivisation scheme comes in the wake of a Sunday Times investigation. A whistleblower told the newspaper how partners were put under pressure to hit targets by selling costly pensions and investments. Those who did well were invited on all-expenses-paid, week-long cruises or got white-gold cufflinks.
Bosses at the advice giant are conducting a review into how its 4,271 partners or advisers are assessed and incentivised.
Criticism hurts, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong"
Executives at the wealth management company have told employees that performance incentives will now not only focus on sales in individual years but will hinge on other metrics, such as charitable work and customer retention, these people said. Cliff-edge bonuses, which are triggered after partners, or advisers, have to hit a certain level of revenue to increase their income the following year, will be scrapped, they added.
New staff bonus structures and job titles will be reviewed to reward "the right behaviours" and go beyond recognising sales made in a single year.
SJP chief executive Andrew Croft said media coverage has made it a hard year for the firm, which has been forced to make some "quick and difficult decisions". "Criticism hurts, but it doesn't mean it's wrong. We need to evolve the ensure incentives remain relevant to society," he said.
The business is also expected to announced the appointment of two more female non-executive directors, following the addition of Helena Morrissey to the business's board last year.
SJP told staff it had called in Landor, a brand consultancy that has worked with clients including P&G and British Airways, to help with its image, with work officially starting last month.
The changes, first reported by the Sunday Times, were unveiled at the company's annual meeting on Friday.
St James's, a member of the FTSE 100 index, is one of the biggest wealth managers in Britain, its army of more than 4,200 self-employed advisers looking after the nest eggs of 700,000 affluent people.