AJ Bell assets hit record high of £70bn

AJ Bell plc, the Salford-based investment platform giant, said in a quarterly trading update its customer numbers increased by 10,606 in the three months ended June 30, 2023, to close at 465,614, up 12% in the last year and 2% in the quarter.

Assets under administration (AUA) closed at a record £69.8 billion, up 10% over the last year and 2% in the quarter.

Gross inflows in the quarter were £2.4 billion (2022: £2.6 billion) and net inflows were £1.1 billion (2022: £1.6 billion).

At the firm’s AJ Bell Investments business, assets under management increased to £4.3 billion, up 72% over the last year and up 10% in the quarter. Net inflows in the quarter were £400 million, up 33% on the prior year.

AJ Bell CEO Michael Summersgill said: “Continued growth in customer numbers and net inflows of over £1 billion onto our platform in the quarter  once again demonstrate the strength of our dual-channel platform model.

“Assets under administration on our platform now stand at a record high of £69.8 billion.

“Our investments business again grew strongly with assets under management increasing another 10% in the quarter to reach £4.3 billion.

“In a market where many asset managers are suffering persistent net outflows, the strong performance and low-cost nature of our multi-asset investment solutions continues to attract new assets in both the advised and D2C markets, with net inflows in the quarter of £0.4 billion.

“In the advised market there has been a moderation in transfer activity as advisers and their clients exercise more caution in the face of ongoing uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment. Despite that, we attracted £0.4 billion of net inflows to our advised platform during the quarter and added almost 3,000 new customers.

“Momentum in the D2C market remained strong after the tax year end as customers took advantage of their new annual ISA and pension allowances. Our open architecture platform ensures that customers have the flexibility to choose from a broad range of investment options depending on market conditions.

“The sharp rise in interest rates has stimulated strong demand for short-dated government bonds and money market funds, with eight of the 20 most popular investment choices by traded value in the quarter falling into these categories.

“More broadly, we are well prepared for the implementation of the new Consumer Duty coming into force at the end of this month.

“We believe this will be positive for consumers, with an increased focus on value for money and ensuring good customer outcomes set to improve standards within the market.

“It is important  that there is no delay beyond the next year in the new duty applying to legacy pension schemes, particularly given the FCA has recently stated that savers in older schemes may be at greatest risk of poor value for money.

“We continue to see significant opportunities for growth in the platform market and believe we are well positioned to capitalise on these in both the advised and D2C segments.”