AJ Bell stock market value soars over £1bn

Andy Bell

The stock market value of Manchester-based investment firm AJ Bell has soared to around £1.1 billion since its IPO last month.

AJ Bell went public in December at 160p — valuing the company at £651 million — but has since climbed to around 282p.

On Wednesday, AJ Bell issued a trading update for the three months to December 31, 2018.

The firm said platform customer numbers increased by 7,285 to 190,498, and underlying platform inflows increased 20% to £1.2 billion.

However, it said “negative market movements of £2.7 billion resulted in total closing assets under administration (AUA) of £44.2 billion – a 4% decline since September 2018 compared to an 11% fall inthe FTSE All-Share index over the same period.”

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said: “Trading in the first quarter of our financial year continued in line with the growth story we outlined ahead of our IPO and remains on track.

“We continued to attract new customers and inflows to the platform in the face of volatile investment markets, which demonstrates the strength and resilience of our business model as we approach our busiest period of the year.

“Our low-cost and easy-to-use investment platform continues to appeal to both retail customers and financial advisers, and providing high quality service to them remains our top priority.

“Platforms have been one of the main beneficiaries of defined benefit pension transfers.

“These have declined steadily since their peak seen in financial year 2017 and we expect this decline to continue.

“Despite this and short-term market volatility, the outlook for the platform market remains strong.

“The FCA is due to deliver the final report of its Investment Platforms Market Study and based on its interim report this is expected to focus on value for money and easier transfers between platforms.

“Our competitive pricing model and service proposition means we are well positioned to benefit from anticipated developments in these areas.”