St James's Place refuses to pay compensation for 'rogue adviser'

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St James's Place refuses to pay compensation for 'rogue adviser'

British wealth manangement firm St James's Place (SJP) has refused to pay compensation following an adviser's recommendations left clients with £1.35m of losses, according to reports.

According to the report in the Sunday Times, around 17 clients were pursuaded by Philip Cox to invest in a company called Green World Innovations. The ESG start-up was founded by Cox's school friend and went into administration earlier this year.

SJP is refusing to pay any compensation, according to the report. The company insists that, because the investments in Green World were not approved by SJP, it cannot compensate for any rogue investment. This is despite Cox having used company email and letter-headed correspondence, the Sunday Times revealed.

Cox remains “emphatic that his clients were aware that this was separate and distinct from any product or service provided by SJP.”

The London paper reported: "Cox, 56, used SJP company emails and letter-headed paper to persuade his clients to make the investments between 2014 and 2019. However, the investments were not approved by SJP, so the firm denies any responsibility for the losses."

The case marks the second time in as many months that the company has been criticised for refusing to compensate a client. In May, II reported that SJP refused to compensate a man in declining health above the legal FOS compensation limit, according to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

In March this year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it would be investigating SJP, based in Cirencester, England, following a series of complaints.

Andrew Croft, CEO of St James's Place, has written to the affected clients emphasising that Cox remains "emphatic that his clients were aware that this was separate and distinct from any product or service provided by SJP." This despite having stated he would launch an internal investigation.

SJP declined to comment.

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.