AJ Bell shares down 7% as assets slip to £66bn

Shares of Salford-based investment platform AJ Bell fell about 7% after it published a trading update for the three months ended December 31, 2022, showing assets under administration (AUA) closed at £66.3 billion, down 3% over the last year but up 3% in the quarter.

Gross inflows in the quarter fell were £1.9 billion compared to £2.7 billion in 2021 and net inflows in the quarter were £800 million compared to £1.4 billion in 2021.

Customer numbers increased by 8,713 in the quarter to close at 434,365, up 13% in the last year and 2% in the quarter.

At the firm’s AJ Bell Investments unit, assets under management (AUM) increased to £3.4 billion, up 62% over the last year and up 21% in the quarter.

The investments unit reported record net inflows in the quarter of £443 million, up 143% versus the comparative period in the prior year.

AJ Bell Investments reported strong investment performance, with all of AJ Bell’s multi-asset growth funds delivering top quartile returns versus their Investment Association sector average over the last three years.

AJ Bell CEO Michael Summersgill said: “I am pleased to announce a solid start to the financial year, with our platform continuing to attract new customers and assets across both the advised and direct-to-consumer markets.

“Whilst high inflation has inevitably squeezed household finances, we delivered £0.8 billion of net inflows to the platform during the quarter.

“This performance demonstrates the value of our dual-channel business model which enables us to capture customer and asset growth from across the whole platform market.

“Our fast-growing investment business performed very strongly in the quarter. Customers and advisers alike are attracted to our range of low-cost investment solutions which have delivered excellent returns for customers in difficult market conditions.

“This drove record net inflows of £443 million in the quarter, more than double the level achieved in the comparative quarter last year.

“Total assets under management passed through the £3 billion milestone in the quarter, closing 62% higher than a year ago at £3.4 billion.

“We have a long track record of delivering organic growth and market share gains in both the advised and direct-to-consumer markets.

“Over 50,000 new customers have been attracted to our platform over the past year and we are continuing to invest in the development of our customer proposition to make investing as easy as possible, whilst delivering great value for money.”