AJ Bell assets up 14% to £74bn year on year

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell

Salford-based investment platform AJ Bell said on Thursday its total assets under administration (AUA) in the three months ended March 31 closed at £74.1 billion, up 14% over the last year but down 2% in the quarter “due to adverse market and other movements of 4%.”

During the quarter, the FTSE All-Share Index fell by 0.5% whilst the MSCI World Index fell by 5.5%.

AJ Bell said its total customer numbers increased to 418,309, up 21% over the last year and 5% in the quarter, with total net inflows in the quarter of £1.5 billion.

The company said: “Despite the challenging market backdrop, the AJ Bell platform has continued to attract and retain high quality customers, with over three-quarters of new accounts being tax-advantaged pensions or ISAs and platform customer retention remaining high at 95%.”

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said: “Our dual-channel platform, serving the growing advised and D2C platform markets, attracted over 20,000 new customers and significant net inflows during Q2 despite weakened investor sentiment.

“In the last year we have grown platform customer numbers by 21% and platform AUA by 15%, demonstrating the strength of our business model across different market conditions.

“Although our D2C customers invested slightly less via our platform than in the comparative period as they assess the impact of the rising cost of living, net inflows to our advised platform remained on par with last year, which was a strong comparative.

“Net platform inflows of £1.6 billion is an encouraging result given the uncertain market backdrop.

“Our in-house investment solutions remain popular across our platform propositions and continued to perform strongly, delivering net inflows of £223 million during the quarter.

“Our first five multi-asset funds recently passed their fifth anniversary, an important performance milestone particularly for advisers.

“Performance of all five funds was in the top 30% when compared against their peer groups, with four being in the top quintile.

“Since launching these funds in 2017 we have shared the benefits of our increasing scale with customers, reducing the Ongoing Charges Figure from 50bps to 31bps during that time.

“This week we launched a new investing app called Dodl by AJ Bell which expands our offering to DIY investors.

“It offers all the main tax wrappers and a simplified investment range to help people select funds and shares for their portfolio.

“With an annual charge of just 0.15% and no commission for buying or selling investments, Dodl is a low-cost proposition perfectly suited to individuals who want an easy way to invest for their future.

“We believe it will be particularly attractive to the 8.6m adults in the UK who hold more than £10,000 of investible assets in cash, especially in the current climate of rising inflation where cash savings are being eroded in real terms due to the low interest rates available.

“The launch of Dodl in the consumer market will be complemented by the launch of Touch by AJ Bell, our simplified platform currently being developed for the advised market.

“These developments will broaden our reach in both the advised and D2C segments, keeping us at the forefront of the platform market and positioning us well to continue gaining market share.”