St. James’s Place

A scalable, digital solution to support growth

St. James’s Place Wealth Management (SJP) is Britain’s largest wealth management firm. Founded in 1992, it delivers its services through a partnership network of thousands of independent businesses operating under its umbrella. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, the FTSE 100 group manages more than £110bn in client assets.

SJP turned to DEPT® for a digital solution to support the scale and speed of its growth. An entirely new digital ecosystem has been created, transforming how SJP communicates with its partners and clients.

The challenge

SJP’s partner practices range in size from a single advisor up to a Partnership several hundred. Though these companies are independently-run with their own client base, they offer SJP’s products and services and align themselves with corporate guidelines for communication and service standards.

Due to limitations with its existing platform, SJP was unable to maximise the use of digital for its Partners. Over time, many of the larger Partners had started to move away from the SJP platform to develop their own websites. This led to increased overheads for the Partners, as well becoming unmanageable for the SJP compliance team. The Partners felt hindered when trying to establish scale or make changes and, at the same time, SJP was enduring a lack of control over branding, content and messaging. A centralised solution for managing content at scale, whilst allowing Partners to express their own voice, was overdue.

DEPT® applied its expertise in large scale content management to develop a solution that meets the complex requirements of SJP’s large organisation. 

A flexible, scalable solution

The DEPT® team conducted an audit of the technology ecosystem at St. James’s Place, along with business analysis and market research. Findings concluded that the reliance on legacy systems and complicated change processes were holding the business back.
 
The solution needed to support thousands of websites. To achieve this, DEPT® implemented a powerful headless approach to content management, utilising SDL Tridion Sites, to provide flexible, multi-site management at scale. 

In addition, a custom solution was created to manage dynamic data, and the CRM and email broadcast systems were integrated. A custom-built react application provides the front end interface, communicating with an API layer that brings together the relevant services.

In order to power this approach, DEPT® leveraged the cloud computing services of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which allowed for reliable and scalable hosting of the solution. This ensured that the platform was able to meet the demands of thousands of websites, while providing the necessary flexibility and agility for SJP’s growing partnership network.

Within the AWS environment, the team built a serverless-first approach, with services including ECS, EFS, RDS, Lambda and Cloudfront. The team also implemented critical disaster recovery (DR) strategies within AWS, to ensure business continuity and minimise the risk of any service disruptions. This provides SJP with a future-proof solution that is designed to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of the business.

White-label website builder

DEPT® created a white-label solution for SJP’s network of Partners to build their own compliant sites. The technical framework can accelerate the Partner’s online presence, whilst maintaining a coherent corporate identity that’s compliant with industry standards. With a suite of highly customisable components, the Partners can create bespoke website layouts to match their branding, teamed with the tools and functionality they require to grow their businesses.

Operating in a highly regulated industry, it was imperative that the solution met compliance and security requirements. The solution is mobile responsive and SEO optimised, with tracking and analytics integrated. This functionality enables SJP and its Partners to monitor their sites’ performance by analysing how visitors interact, giving them insight into online behaviour and helping to optimise online marketing strategies. 

Driving operational efficiencies

Introducing digital transformation into St. James’s Place has revolutionised its internal processes, replacing offline and disjointed ways of working with a central system. Automation capabilities are already adding significant value to the business, ensuring all information is compliant with industry standards and regulatory requirements. Plus, newly configured dashboards have equipped non-technical teams from both its head office and its Partners to have more control, and enabled them to react quickly to requirements.

Results

DEPT® has developed a digital landscape that provides the functionality to support St. James’s Place’s fast-growing market position, whilst solving a series of pain points that were preventing continued growth. Its newly designed digital framework supports the longevity of its Partnership programme, with a strategy to scale up its Partners alongside the parent business.

It adds strength to its brand with a unified approach across its entire digital estate, as well as consolidating all websites on a single domain to maximise authority and increase search visibility.

With AWS as the foundation for this digital landscape, it has proven to be highly successful for St. James’s Place. By using this serverless architecture approach, DEPT® was able to create a robust and scalable solution that meets the growing demands of St. James’s Place and its clients. Overall, the success of this digital landscape demonstrates the power and flexibility of the AWS cloud platform for supporting large-scale digital transformation initiatives.

DEPT® and St. James’s Place have taken a phased approach to digital transformation. We’re proud to have launched the core aspects of the digital roadmap, which are systemically evolving operational processes. We’re continuing to collaborate to release innovations through an iterative approach. The next phase will focus on personalisation and accelerating the digital experience in line with what new generations of clients expect.

Questions?

Managing Director, Design & Technology UK

Lizzie Powell

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