Operating profit fell from £1.002bn to £952m and IFRS profit before tax was down by £24.8m from £211.9m to £187.1m.
Gross inflows dropped from £15.7bn to £15.1bn although funds under management rose from £95.6bn to £117bn.
The company saw negative publicity during the year about its adviser sales incentives but has blamed adverse economic conditions and the cost of adding new advisers for much of the downturn.
The company now has 4,271 wealth managers making it among the largest wealth managers in the UK.
SJP says it is committed to the professional development of its advisers and says one in four of all new qualified Chartered Financial Planners in the UK work for SJP. The company now has 900 advisers with Chartered status.
Despite the negative publicity about adviser sales incentives the number of clients continued to grow, increasing by 51,000 to 733,000 during the year.
The company says it was disappointed about the criticism last year of its incentives and remuneration for advisers and does not not accept much of it but will review incentive policies in 2020 to ensure they remain "appropriate."
Andrew Croft, chief executive, said: "Last year was challenging for the UK wealth management sector with investor sentiment being impacted by uncertain macro-economic indicators, the US/China trade dispute, and the domestic political environment.
“Therefore, I am pleased to report a solid set of results. Positive net flows, together with the impact of positive investment returns, increased client funds under management to a record £117 billion, once again demonstrating the resilience of St James's Place.
“The fundamentals underlying the business remain strong and over time, increasing funds under management will generate increased returns.
“However, in the short term, our profit has been impacted by the more modest gross flows relative to the planned investment in the business for future growth.”
Because of continuing growth in FUM the company is planning to increase the final dividend by 5% to 31.22p share (2018: 29.73p) making a full year dividend of 49.71p (2018: 48.22p), growth of 3%.
Looking ahead SJP believes there will be greater political stability following the General Election and this is already improving investor sentiment.
The company says uncertainties in the UK remain, such as the impact of coronavirus, but the firm believes it is well placed to grow.