St James’s Place has named Paul Manduca as its next chairman, choosing the Prudential Group chair to help steer the UK’s largest wealth manager as it tries to streamline its business.
Mr Manduca, who has held the Prudential role since 2012, will become SJP’s chair designate on January 1, replacing Iain Cornish.
“I have long admired St James’s Place for the unique service it offers to its clients of expert financial advice and a distinctive approach to investment management,” Mr Manduca said on Thursday.
The appointment comes at a time when the wealth manager has come under increased scrutiny over its bloated business structure and generous compensation schemes.
Activist investor PrimeStone Capital published an open letter in October calling for sweeping structural changes and cost savings at SJP. After missing earnings targets, SJP confirmed staff would not receive bonuses for this year.
Prudential has also come under fire from activist investors and pursued significant change during Mr Manduca’s tenure. He oversaw the offloading of Prudential’s UK business, since rebranded M&G, and plans to sever the insurer’s US arm under pressure from activist investor Third Point, run by billionaire Dan Loeb.
However, analysts said Mr Manduca was more a status quo leader than an agent for change.
A well known City stalwart, he was founding chief executive of Threadneedle Asset Management and is a former chief executive of Rothschild Asset Management.
Mr Manduca has also served as chair of Aon UK and the JPM European Smaller Companies investment trust, and on the board of Wm Morrison Supermarkets.
Mr Manduca emphasised the growing importance of providing financial advice in the UK as a growing number of investors try to navigate complicated, volatile markets, and said he was looking forward to working with SJP as it “continues its development as the leading provider of long-term financial planning at a time when the need for this is greater than ever”.
Roger Yates, senior independent director of SJP, said he was “delighted” by the selection and that Mr Manduca’s “expertise will be invaluable to St James’s Place”.
The appointment will be confirmed at the end of SJP’s 2021 AGM, when Mr Cornish will step down.
“It has been a huge privilege to chair the board at St James’s Place,” said Mr Cornish. “I will leave behind a strong board and management team running a successful company with a great future.”