Salford’s AJ Bell grows assets 29% to £73bn

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell

AJ Bell plc, the Salford-based investment platform, said on Thursday its assets under administration (AUA) increased by 29% to £72.8 billion in its financial year ended September 30, 2021.

In a year-end trading update the Salford company said its total customer numbers increased 30% in the year to 382,754, with total net inflows up 52% to £6.4 billion.

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said: “We have delivered another year of strong organic growth with total net inflows up 52%, AUA up 29% and customer numbers up 30%, compared to the previous year.

“Our award-winning platform propositions, serving both the advised and D2C markets, enable us to capitalise on strong customer demand for long-term investment products, whether that be advised or self-managed.

“£3.8 billion of platform net inflows were in the advised market where the breadth and value of our proposition enables financial advisers to deliver solutions that meet the differing needs of their clients at a highly competitive price.

“This represents growth of 36% in net inflows compared to the prior year, with customer numbers up 17%.

“£3.2 billion of platform net inflows were in the direct-to-consumer market where we have seen very strong demand from retail investors throughout the pandemic.

“Customer growth of 40% in the year helped to drive a 52% increase in net inflows compared to the previous year, with the majority of this being in ISAs and pensions as customers focus on building long-term, tax efficient investment portfolios.

“Following the gradual easing of COVID restrictions over the course of the summer, we have seen retail trading activity return to more normal levels compared to the peaks seen earlier in the year.

“However, we are pleased that our key drivers of long-term growth, namely customer numbers and net inflows, have continued strongly.

“In the final quarter of our financial year, net new platform customers increased by 16% and platform net inflows increased by 78% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020.

“Demand for our investment solutions has also continued to build across both the advised and direct-to-consumer markets.

“Our managed portfolio service is growing in popularity with advisers as they recognise our focus on charges, choice and communication and we have recently added the service to four external platforms to further increase its availability.

“In the D2C market, our multi-asset funds continue to prove popular as customers seek low-cost investment solutions that are managed for them in line with their risk profile.”