AJ Bell customers rise but assets fall to £69bn

Salford-based investment giant AJ Bell announced that customer numbers on its platform business increased by 14,120 to 417,503 in the quarter to June 30, 2022, up 18% in the last year and 4% in the quarter.

However, AJ Bell said its total assets under administration ended the quarter at £68.7 billion, falling 7.3% from £74.1 billion at the start of the period.

The firm said the fall in assets on its platform was “primarily due to adverse market movements” and said that during the quarter the FTSE All-Share Index fell 6% and the MSCI World Index (GBP) fell 9%.

AJ Bell CEO Andy Bell said: “Our trusted, dual-channel investment platform has continued to attract thousands of new customers looking to invest for their future, despite a weakening in investor sentiment over the last six months.

“During our third quarter, platform customer numbers continued on an upward trajectory and closed 18% higher than in the previous year, whilst platform net inflows of £1.6 billion were in line with Q2, a traditionally strong quarter which benefits from the increase in customer activity in the run up to tax year end.

“The advised market has remained resilient in the face of current market headwinds and the strength of our proposition helped to deliver net inflows of £0.9 billion.

“We have recently reduced several charges on our advised platform, AJ Bell Investcentre, utilising our scale to further increase the value that advisers can offer to their clients.

“The phased launch of Touch by AJ Bell starting later in 2022 will further expand our offering for advisers, helping them to cater for clients looking for a digital service model.

“Our D2C platform delivered net inflows of £0.7 billion during the quarter, predominantly via our fast-growing AJ Bell Youinvest proposition.

“We have continued to enhance the value of that proposition for our customers, by making it easier to use and reducing our charges.

“During the quarter we also launched Dodl by AJ Bell, our new low-cost, commission-free investing app aimed at less experienced investors.

“We continue to develop this new proposition, with the ability to transfer-in from other providers soon to be launched and the addition of US shares to follow.

“Our investments business is delivering on its commitment to offer a wide choice of investment solutions at low cost and with clear communications.

“Our investment solutions have outperformed against most competing products over the last 5 years, which is why they are valued by financial advisers, their clients and our retail customers.

“Net inflows of £271 million in the quarter equated to a healthy 12% of opening AUM, with total AUM hitting £2.5 billion.

“Overall, our business continues to perform well and our long-term growth prospects remain strong.

“The continued development of our customer propositions, together with our highly competitive pricing and strong customer service, means we are well positioned to continue growing the business and increasing our market share.”