St. James’s Place
St. James’s Place
Bespoke ESG advisory
About St. James’s Place
St. James’s Place is a FTSE 100 company with £148bn of client funds under management providing a range of wealth management solutions from investments to pensions. Part of their private client offering is Inheritance Tax planning, which involves advising clients on a range of tax-advantaged investment (TAI) products. More and more of these clients were beginning to request products that have strong ESG integration and performance.
We were asked to review St. James’s Place’s current management assessment questionnaire and conduct gap analysis on what we would expect to include in our own manager assessment. We were also tasked to develop a new and improved assessment questionnaire leveraging the tax-advantaged investment knowledge in our investment consulting division. We finalised the questionnaire over a series of feedback calls and developed an assessment framework, that would form the basis for assessing responses to the questionnaire marking each question set on a 1-4 scale.
We had a kick-off call to scope out the project and align on expectations and divided up sections of the questionnaire development. We worked with senior members of the tax-advantaged investments team at MJ Hudson to ensure that any product questions were applicable and appropriate. A similar approach was taken to the framework, which required completely original scoring framework language although parts of the MJ Hudson Maturity Scale tool was implemented where possible. We had fortnightly calls with the client to collect feedback on the questionnaire or framework and then implemented their requested changes. The project ended with a final call transferring the ownership of the framework onto the client and wrapping any last changes that were made to the assessment framework.
This mandate was unique in the sense that we were tasked with creating a new manager assessment framework for a client rather than applying our own. It was also being applied to a relatively niche and unknown industry (tax-advantaged investment), which presented its challenges. Developing a manager assessment framework for the TAI industry had never been done before.
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