Investments  

Pension transfer business halves at AJ Bell

Pension transfer business halves at AJ Bell

The volume of assets arriving on the AJ Bell platform via pension transfers has halved in a year.

According to the half year results statement of the company, released this morning (23 May) and covering the six months to the end of March 2019, AJ Bell received £500m of inflows from pension transfers, compared with £1.1bn from that source in the same six month period a year earlier.

The company results stated this was "in line with industry trends and expectations".

Defined benefit transfer activity has been in decline across the industry for a year after a surge in activity post pension freedoms.

Total net inflows on the platform for the six month period were £2.1bn, tough the non-platform part of the business, which works with institutional clients and Sipp clients, had outflows of £300m.

Total assets under management on the platform were £47.7bn at the end of March, an increase of 3 per cent.

The number of new customers on the platform increased by 16,000, bringing the total to 214,000.

Profits rose by 27 per cent to £17.7m, while revenue rose by 17 per cent to £50.1m.

Profits grew at a faster pace than income because the company’s profit margin increased to 35 per cent, with chief executive Andy Bell saying economies of scale mean that as the platform gets bigger, it makes more margin on each additional client.

This was the first results statement by the company since it listed on the London stock exchange in December.

Mr Bell said: "Our first set of financial results as a publicly-listed company demonstrates the strength of our business model as outlined ahead of our IPO.

"The quality of our low-cost, easy-to-use investment platform enabled us to continue to attract customers and assets and this is reflected in our strong financial performance.  

"Revenue and profit both increased considerably and the board has declared an interim dividend of 1.50 pence per share in line with our dividend policy."

He added: "This robust financial performance enables us to continue to invest in the platform to achieve our ambition of becoming the easiest platform to use, underpinning our principal purpose of helping people to invest.  

"This core focus on meeting the needs of advisers and customers, alongside our competitive pricing and high quality service model, means we are well positioned to capitalise on the growing market for investment platforms in the coming years."

david.thorpe@ft.com