AJ Bell  

AJ Bell has ‘second-best quarter’ for advised customers

AJ Bell has ‘second-best quarter’ for advised customers

AJ Bell has recorded its “second-best quarter ever” for customer acquisition on its advised platform, with 4,690 net new advised customers joining in the three months to December 31, 2021.

AJ Bell Investcentre now has 131,610 advised customers, up 17 per cent in the last year and 4 per cent in the quarter.

As a result, the platform welcomed £1.6bn of inflows, but it also experienced £1bn of outflows, including a £241m ‘exceptional bulk annuity purchase’, which it flagged back in its October trading update.

Excluding the impact of this exceptional outflow, the firm said underlying net inflows for its advised platform were £900m, up 13 per cent on the prior year.

AJ Bell Investcentre’s assets at the end of last year reached £47.5bn, bolstered by £1.1bn in investment returns and revaluations, as well as charges and tax.

“We have had a solid start to our new financial year with customer numbers, gross inflows and assets under administration all growing steadily,” said Andy Bell, chief executive of AJ Bell.

“We continue to see strong demand for our easy to use, low-cost platform across both the advised and direct-to-consumer markets.

“In the advised market we had our second-best quarter ever for customer acquisition.”

Bell said AJ Bell Investcentre’s underlying net inflows were “robust” in what is normally “a quieter period” for asset flows.

The company’s direct-to-consumer platform, AJ Bell Youinvest, grew by more than 10,000 customers in the quarter, from 241,045 to 251,664. Its AUA now sit at £20.6bn, up £900m in the quarter.

“The direct-to-consumer market continues to grow strongly, with increasing numbers of people being drawn to the benefits of personal investing,” said Bell.

“In the quarter we delivered further growth in D2C customers and AUA and are now entrusted with over £20bn of assets by a quarter of a million retail investors.”

The chief executive said a combination of the firm’s “trusted brand”, “easy-to-use” platform and “increasingly popular” investment solutions have all allowed it to deliver further growth in both the advised and D2C markets.

Across both platforms, AJ Bell has £68.1bn in total assets and 383,274 customers.

AJ Bell Investments, the firm’s separate business, saw assets close at £2.1bn, up 110 per cent over the last year and down 5 per cent on the previous quarter due to the £241m outflow.

Excluding this outflow, underlying net inflows for AJ Bell’s investment business were £182m, up 24 per cent on the same quarter in the previous year.