AJ Bell  

Advised clients up 4% at AJ Bell

Advised clients up 4% at AJ Bell

More than 20,000 customers flocked to the AJ Bell platform in the three months to March, bringing its total customer count to nearly 250,000 and marking a record quarter for the platform.

A trading update, published this morning (April 24), showed 20,872 new customers joined AJ Bell in Q1, increasing its customer numbers by 9 per cent and the largest quarterly increase recorded.

The number of advised customers increased 4 per cent in Q1 2020 while direct to consumer customers jumped 13 per cent in the same time period.

AJ Bell also reported net inflows of £1.3bn over the quarter — up from £800m year-on-year — and defined benefit inflows accounted for £200m of the net inflows, like-for-like with the figures recorded for the same period in 2019.

But the firm’s total assets slipped from £55m to £48m in the three months as the coronavirus crisis caused adverse market movements. AJ Bell’s platform Aum dropped from £47bn to £42bn.

Andy Bell, chief executive at AJ Bell, said: “This quarter was without doubt one of the most dramatic we’ve witnessed. We had to move quickly to keep our people safe from Covid-19 and comply with the government lockdown.

“I’m pleased that we were able to do that effectively whilst remaining open for business as usual during a very busy tax year end period.”

Mr Bell said the resilience of the business and the staff was reflected in the new business figures, which were “very strong” compared to last year.

AJ Bell had previously confirmed it was not furloughing any staff or claiming benefits from the government’s financial support schemes.

It also launched the AJ Bell Wage War on Covid fund, under the umbrella of the AJ Bell Trust, to support charities and causes supporting the coronavirus efforts.

Mr Bell, alongside other board directors, senior management and staff, have pledged to donate three months of wages into the fund.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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