St. James's Place PLC (LON:STJ) saw its shares advance on Wednesday after the blue-chip wealth manager saw its full-year results beat forecasts, helped by growing demand for face-to-face financial advice.
The FTSE 100-listed firm reported 2017 operating profits on a European embedded value (EEV) basis - which discounts future cash-flows - ahead by 36% to £918.5mln, up from £673.6mln in 2016, and beating analysts’ estimates for £845.5mln.
READ: St James's Place sees fourth-quarter funds under management boosted by net inflows of client money
As previously reported, St James's Place’s total funds under management rose to a record £90.7bn last year, driven by strong demand for its pension and savings services.
The group’s underlying cash after tax at the year-end was £281.2mln, also beat analyst consensus for £280.9mln, while its full-year dividend of 42.86 p was above forecasts for 41.1p.
Looking forward, the company said it was confident of meeting its medium-term underlying growth target of 15%-20% a year.
In early trading, St James's Place were up 2.6% to 1,155p.
In a note to clients, analysts at Numis Securities upgraded the stock to 'buy' from 'add' with a target price of 1,430p.
They said: “We continue to hold SJP in very high regard and believe it should continue to be a core long-term sector holding for many investors.”