AJ Bell first-half profit tops £22m on £61m revenue

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell

Salford-based investment platform AJ Bell said on Thursday its revenue rose 22% to £60.9 million and profit before tax (PBT) was up 28% to £22.7 million in the six months ended March 31, 2020.

The firm will maintain an interim dividend of 1.5p per share.

Total customers increased by a record 30,113 in the period to 262,179, up 22% over the last 12 months and 13% in the first half of the current financial year.

Total net inflows were £2.1 billion (HY19: £1.8 billion), driven by platform net inflows of £2.5 billion (HY19: £2.1 billion)

Total assets under administration (AUA) increased by 1% over the last year, closing at £48.3 billion.

AUA fell by 8% in the six-month period to March 31 “due to adverse market and other movements.”

Customer retention rate remained high at 95.4%.

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said: “This is a strong financial performance at a time when the country faces one of its most significant challenges in decades.

“Our focus has been to keep our people safe while continuing to provide the vital services our customers need during times of market volatility and being here to service their needs. 

“This unwavering attention on our customers’ needs has helped us deliver strong organic growth in revenue and profitability.

“Our customer numbers increased by a record 30,113 during the period and we saw net inflows of £2.5 billion to our core platform offering.

“Revenue increased 22% to £60.9 million and profit before tax increased 28% to £22.7 million.

“In light of this strong financial performance, the board has declared an interim dividend of 1.50 pence per share. 

“The board recognises the importance that our investors place on AJ Bell’s progressive dividend history and reaffirms our ongoing commitment to this and our stated dividend policy for future dividend distributions.

“The effects of the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be felt for a long time, although the precise impact it will have on markets, investor sentiment and economic policy is hard to predict.

“However, we have operated profitably during periods of market volatility and low interest rates before and our business model has proved very resilient.

“The long-term growth drivers of the platform market remain in place and our strong capital position, coupled with a buoyant trading performance mean the outlook for the future of the business remains positive.”