* Q4 funds under management up 5.9 pct
* Net inflows 2.9 bln pounds, market gains add 2.2 bln pounds
* Inflows strongest in pensions business (Adds detail, bullet points, background)
By Simon Jessop
LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - British wealth manager St. James’s Place said fourth-quarter funds under management rose 5.9 percent to cap a record year, boosted by net inflows of client money and market gains.
The company, which offers financial services through a network of advisers, dubbed “Partners”, said assets at the end of December were 90.8 billion pounds ($129.56 billion), against the previous quarter’s 85.7 billion pounds.
Net inflows in the quarter were 2.9 billion pounds, it said in a statement on Thursday, while its investments returned 2.2 billion pounds.
The strong end to the year helped St James’s Place to a record year, Chief Executive Andrew Croft said, with funds under management growing by 15.4 billion pounds, or 20 percent, over the 12 months.
Quarterly net inflows were strongest into its pensions business, at 2.2 billion pounds, as it continued to benefit from rule changes that have given investors greater freedom with their retirement savings, leaving many requiring more advice.
“At the heart of this sustained growth is the importance we place on maintaining long-lasting relationships with, and between, our Partners and clients,” Croft said, adding that he is confident of hitting growth targets “in 2018 and beyond”. ($1 = 0.7008 pounds) (Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Lawrence White and David Goodman)