* David Bellamy to step down at the end of 2017
* To be replaced by current CFO Andrew Croft (Recasts to merge separate stories, adds detail from statement, bullet points)
By Simon Jessop
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - British wealth manager St. James’s Place said Chief Executive David Bellamy would step down at the end of the year after more than a decade, while higher costs weighed on cash earnings and sent the firm’s shares lower.
On Bellamy’s watch the company, which provides a range of financial advice and services to investors, has more than quadrupled client funds to over 75 billion pounds ($93.2 billion), it said on Tuesday.
Bellamy will leave his role at the end of 2017 but stay on in an advisory capacity, taking the title of non-executive chairman of its international operations.
He will be replaced by current Chief Financial Officer Andrew Croft, who in turn will be replaced as CFO by Craig Gentle, currently Chief Risk Officer.
“The very well regarded CEO David Bellamy will step down at year end after 11 years as CEO and be replaced by equally highly regarded CFO Andy Croft. Importantly it’s an internal appointment which we view as key,” said JPMorgan analyst Ashik Musaddi in a note to clients.
Musaddi said the results beat consensus for new business profits and operating profits, although operating cash earnings were a slight miss, weighed by the cost of expanding operations and improving the firm’s infrastructure.
Shares in St James’s Place were down 3 percent at 1056p by 0850 GMT..
St James’s Place said operating cash earnings rose to 226 million pounds from 195.6 million pounds, missing some estimates after higher costs including those associated with hiring more advisors and expanding into Asia.
Operating profits on a European embedded value (EEV) basis, which discounts future cashflows and is one of the main gauges of performance, rose 2 percent to 673.6 million pounds, up from 660.2 million pounds in 2015.
The firm said it would pay a final dividend of 20.67 pence a share, up 20 percent, to take the total dividend for the year up 18 percent to 33 pence a share. ($1 = 0.8050 pounds) (Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Maiya Keidan/Keith Weir)