St James's Place (SJP) has confirmed it is speaking with several search firms as part of its long-term succession planning which includes replacing current chief executive (CEO) Andrew Croft.

The global advice giant told International Adviser's sister brand Professional Adviser that it is in talks with head-hunter Russell Reynolds Associates to find a CEO to replace Croft as he prepares to step down after three decades with the business.

Croft has worked for SJP since 1993 and served as its finance chief between 2004 and 2017 before taking over as CEO in 2018.

An SJP spokesperson said: "As part of long-term succession planning, the board has regular dialogue with search firms to assess and monitor the market. This is in line with best practice corporate governance."

Institutional Shareholder Services documents early this month show Croft's total pay including cash and deferred bonuses was £3.1m in 2022. This was down from £3.3m in 2021.

Funds under management at the nation's largest adviser employer are up £2.4bn according to its latest results, with the outgoing Croft anticipating "a more supportive environment for new business as 2023 unfolds".

In a separate development, SJP announced today it has opened an office in Dubai, with Matthew Deeprose named as senior executive officer of SJP Middle East, overseeing 20 advisers at outset. 

Its new presence in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) follows formal approval and licensing from the Dubai Financial Services Authority. 

Iain Rayner, chief operating officer at SJP, said: "Dubai has long established its position as a strategic wealth jurisdiction with immense growth potential. A presence in the Middle East will present a wealth corridor supporting a new generation of internationally mobile clients and this is an opportunity for us to expand our international reach as well as that of the SJP Partnership."

Deeprose added: "We have chosen to work with the DIFC and DFSA given their reputation as leading regulators for international finance. Establishing our presence in this market is complementary to our businesses in the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore and is instrumental in supporting our growth in Dubai and the Middle East.

"We look forward to working in partnership with the regulators as we grow our operations, providing high quality, regulated advice to those in the region with complex financial needs."