AJ Bell assets hit record £71bn as profit rises 50%

Shares of AJ Bell, the Salford investment platform giant, rose more than 10% after it announced a “record financial performance” with revenue up 33% to £218.2 million and profit before tax up 50% to £87.7 million for the year to September 30, 2023.

AJ Bell reported record assets under administration (AUA) of £70.9 billion, up 11% “driven by the net inflows across the platform and favourable market movements of £2.6 billion.”

The company said its final dividend will be 7.25p per share, increasing total ordinary dividend for the year by 46% to 10.75p per share — the 19th consecutive year of ordinary dividend growth.

AJ Bell said its customers increased by 50,880 to 476,532 — but platform net inflows fell to £4.2 billion from £5.8 billion.

At the group’s AJ Bell Investments business, net inflows were £1.65 billion, up 57%, with assets under management up 68% to £4.7 billion.

AJ Bell CEO Michael Summersgill said: “I am pleased to report another year of strong financial performance for the business which has demonstrated our ability to continue to grow in different market conditions …

“As we approach half a million platform customers, we remain focused on providing a great value proposition, with a philosophy of sharing our scale benefits with customers. Having reduced several fees across the platform in 2022, this year we have increased the interest rates paid to customers several times and will soon be increasing them further, with a particular focus on pension drawdown where there is a customer need to hold cash to fund income payments.

“We continue to invest in our customer proposition with a focus on making it easy for people to invest. In the D2C market we have recently added the option to purchase bonds and gilts online in response to increased demand for these investments in the higher interest rate environment. 

“Our free pension finding service has proved popular with customers trying to track down and consolidate lost pension pots and next year we will be expanding this into a low-cost pension consolidation service …”

Summersgill added: “Following the year end Kevin Doran, Managing Director of D2C and Investments, informed the business of his decision to leave. He will therefore be departing AJ Bell in the new year.

“Kevin has helped us to build a terrific investment business and I would particularly like to thank him for his work in this part of the business.

“I am pleased to announce that Charlie Musson, our Chief Communications Officer, has taken over as Acting Managing Director D2C. Having worked with Charlie for many years, I look forward to working with him in his new role as we continue to drive our D2C platform propositions forward.”

Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has hired Doran to take up the newly-created role of chief investment officer for Scottish Widows and LBG’s insurance, pensions and investments business.