AJ Bell profits up almost a third this year

Online investment platform AJ Bell has seen profit before tax increase by 29% to £21.7m, compared with last year’s reported figure of £16.8m.

The firm’s results for the year ending 30 September show that retail customers increased 17% to 164,500, compared with 140,450 for 2016, while AUA increased 25% to £39.8bn, compared with £31.8bn in 2016.

The increase in AUA was driven primarily by strong net inflows of new business onto its investment platforms of £6.4bn, an increase of 78% on the prior year’s figure of £3.6bn.

Revenue was up 17% to £75.6m (FY16: £64.5m) and AJ Bell is continuing its progressive dividend policy with a 10% increase to 28.25p a share, equating to a total shareholder pay-out of £11.6m.

These figures also absorbed the cost of moving into a new head office in Manchester to provide the office space required to support the rapid growth of the business.

The company said in a statement that “this strong business growth is why AJ Bell is widely recognised as one of the most financially stable investment platforms in the market.”

It added that the company has no debt, net assets of £61.4m and 472% coverage over its minimum required regulatory capital.

The company said that AJ Bell is benefiting from “the continued shift in the market away from old life office products to investment platforms, while the pension freedoms have also boosted demand for SIPPs, a particular strength for AJ Bell”.

The company added that 2017 also saw the launch of AJ Bell’s first range of in-house funds which cater for growing demand for low cost, multi-asset investment solutions.

Andy Bell, chief executive at AJ Bell, pictured above, said: “Huge parts of the platform market are bogged down in expensive replatforming projects which will continue to hamper them in 2018.  We are well past that and our pace of organic growth means we have no need for acquisitions to increase our scale.

“Our focus is on continued investment in our existing platform to benefit advisers and customers.  We aim for our platform to be the easiest to use and the best value in the market, underpinned by quality service and support.  Our new investment solutions have been well received by advisers and we will continue to build on that next year in line with feedback from advisers.”

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Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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