AJ Bell assets up 29% to £73bn as it hires CFO

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell

Salford-based investment giant AJ Bell on Thursday reported a record year of growth with total customers up by 87,449 to 382,754, net inflows of £6.4 billion and assets under administration (AUA) rising 29% to a record £72.8 billion.

In the year to September 30, revenue was up 15% to £145.8 million and profit before tax rose 13% to £55.1 million.

AJ Bell is proposing a final dividend of 4.50p per share, increasing the total ordinary dividend for the year by 13% to 6.96p per share.

The firm is also proposing a special dividend of 5p per share, taking the total dividend for the year to 11.96p per share.

AJ Bell further announced it has hired Peter Birch, who, subject to FCA approval, will join the company as chief financial officer (CFO) on July 1, 2022.

Birch will join AJ Bell from Deloitte LLP where he is currently a financial services audit and assurance partner.

“He has significant experience of leading the audits of large listed financial services organisations and has been the partner on Deloitte’s assurance engagements with AJ Bell since 2015,” said AJ Bell.

Birch will succeed Michael Summersgill, who, as announced on August 18, 2021, was appointed AJ Bell’s deputy chief executive officer with effect from October 1, 2021.

Summersgill will continue to undertake the duties of CFO until Birch joins the company.

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said: We continue to see significant long-term opportunities in the investment platform market.

“The pandemic has highlighted the need for people to take more control over their financial future, with increasing numbers of people investing for the first time. 

“We believe there is increasing demand for simplified, app-based investment propositions in both the D2C and advised markets, so we are investing in two which we will soon bring to market.

“Dodl by AJ Bell, a new investment app, will enable retail investors to invest easily in a range of UK equities and funds, via a full range of tax wrappers.

“There will be no commission on buying and selling investments and a low annual platform charge of 0.15%.

“Touch by AJ Bell is a new mobile-led investment platform for financial advisers, which will enable them to provide an entirely digital service to clients who want that form of relationship and expand the range of client profiles they can serve.

“These two new propositions will sit alongside our flagship platform propositions, AJ Bell Youinvest and AJ Bell Investcentre, broadening our reach in both the D2C and advised markets.

“We expect both to launch during 2022 and we will be investing further in our brand and marketing activities to support their initial phase of growth.

“The continued strong growth of the business and the development of innovative new propositions would not be possible without the energy and commitment of our staff. 

“As well as strengthening our board and senior management team, we have put new processes and a hybrid working model in place to provide our staff with a safe, energetic working environment for the post-pandemic era.”