The founder and chief executive of investment platform AJ Bell has sold 5.5m of his shares in the firm, gaining £23.1m for the sale.
The move is being carried out to “provide additional liquidity”, according to an update on the stock exchange this morning (December 18) by broker Numis, after the firm received “strong investor interest” in a placing of shares last week.
Mr Bell is the latest in a string of AJ Bell employees to shed their holdings in the company. Last week an aggregate of 6.4m shares were sold by a number of senior managers, directors and other staff members.
Numis stated Mr Bell was still “fully committed” to the business and “confident” in the outlook.
After the sale he will hold more than 98m shares in the firm — representing 24 per cent of the company — and will remain the largest shareholder.
These shares are subject to a “lock-up” which Mr Bell agreed to when the firm floated on the stock exchange in December last year. He is unable to sell his remaining shares until AJ Bell’s interim results for the six months to March 31, 2020 are published.
A number of key investors agreed to keep their stake in the company for a period of time following the firm’s initial public offering.
Invesco’s Mark Barnett agreed not to sell his £100m of AJ Bell shares for six months after the floatation, while fund house Seneca pledged to keep its £12m stake for the same period.
Stock exchange updates from July this year show Invesco had cut its stake in the platform a number of times since the lock-up ended. FTAdviser understands Seneca has also sold some of its holdings.
AJ Bell’s final results for the year ending September 30 showed the firm had experienced its “most profitable” year to date after listing on the stock exchange
Its profit before tax jumped 33 per cent to £37.6m while its assets under administration grew by 13 per cent to £52.3bn.
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