AJ Bell platform assets top £68bn as customers rise

Salford-based AJ Bell said customer numbers in its investment platform business increased by 20,643 in the quarter ended March 31, 2023, to close at 455,008, up 13% in the last year and 5% in the quarter.

In a trading update, AJ Bell said platform assets under administration (AUA) closed at £68.6 billion, up 3% over the last year and 3% in the quarter, with favourable market movements contributing 2% of that growth.

However, platform gross inflows in the quarter fell to £2.5 billion from £2.7 billion, while net inflows in the quarter fell to £1.2 billion from £1.6 billion.

In the AJ Bell Investments business, assets under management (AUM) increased to £3.9 billion, up 70% over the last year and up 15% in the quarter.

AJ Bell is headquartered in Manchester, with offices in London and Bristol.

AJ Bell CEO Michael Summersgill said: “I am pleased to report another quarter of robust trading performance which once again demonstrates the strength of our dual-channel business model.

“We have continued to grow customer numbers and assets under administration across the platform, building on our latest market share gains in both the advised and D2C markets.

“We added over 20,000 customers during the quarter and now have over 150,000 advised customers and over 300,000 DIY investors on our platform.

“The strength of our platform propositions continues to attract and retain high quality customers, with average customer portfolio sizes of £309,000 and £70,000 in the advised and D2C markets respectively and a customer retention rate in excess of 95%.

“After a slightly subdued start to 2023, there was strong momentum in the run up to the tax year end, with £1.2 billion of gross inflows and £0.6 billion of net inflows in March alone as customers and advisers took advantage of annual pension and ISA allowances.

“Our investments business continues to go from strength to strength and delivered £0.5 billion of net inflows in the quarter.

“Our investment solutions offer advisers and retail investors great choice and clear communication and have delivered strong long-term performance compared to their peer group.

“Momentum remained strong heading into the new tax year with AUM passing £4 billion in early April.

“We enter the second half of our financial year in a strong position.

“Our diversified revenue streams and profitable business model support our recent step up in brand investment, whilst also enabling us to continually reinvest in pricing, service and functionality to benefit our customers.

“Recently announced changes in respect of pensions are further positive news for the platform market, which already benefits from significant long-term structural growth drivers.

“Our focus remains on continuing to capitalise on the long-term growth opportunity ahead of us in both the advised and D2C markets.”