AJ Bell  

AJ Bell credits £3.8bn adviser inflows to ‘competitive’ price

AJ Bell credits £3.8bn adviser inflows to ‘competitive’ price

AJ Bell’s net inflows for its advised business climbed 36 per cent to £3.8bn over the past year, which chief executive Andy Bell credited to the “competitive price” of its investment platform.

The firm, which brought in £2.8bn of net inflows for its advised business in the previous year, has also seen its advised customer base increase by 17 per cent to 126,920.

Including its direct-to-consumer business, which saw net inflows jump by 52 per cent to £3.2bn, AJ Bell’s platform held £65.3bn in assets as of September 30. This figure was up 31 per cent, from £49.7bn AUA last year.

As a whole - including AJ Bell's investment business as well as its platform - the company had assets of £72.8bn - up 29 per cent.

Total platform customers - including advised and D2C - increased by 31 per cent to 367,965.

“Our award-winning platform propositions, serving both the advised and D2C markets, enable us to capitalise on strong customer demand for long-term investment products, whether that be advised or self-managed,” Bell said in a trading update published today.

He continued: “£3.8bn of platform net inflows were in the advised market where the breadth and value of our proposition enables financial advisers to deliver solutions that meet the differing needs of their clients at a highly competitive price.”

In March, AJ Bell bought investment platform Adalpha to broaden its service to financial advisers. Adalpha, which was an app-based investment platform for advisers and their clients, has since been rebranded to Touch.

The company is in the process of launching the app-based adviser platform, which will sit alongside AJ Bell Investcentre, allowing clients to access both platforms.

While Bell acknowledged the easing of Covid-19 restrictions had bolstered retail trading activity, he said the FTSE 250 company was pleased its key drivers for long-term growth - customer numbers and net inflows - “have continued strongly”.

In the final quarter of AJ Bell’s financial year, between July and September, net new platform customers increased by 16 per cent and platform net inflows increased by 78 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020. 

On an investment side, AJ Bell’s assets under management increased by 175%, from £800m last year to £2.2bn this year.

Total net inflows for the year on this side of the business totalled £1.2bn, including a one-off inflow of £253m in the third financial quarter, meaning investment inflows were up 185 per cent on the £412m which AJ Bell saw come in last year.

The firm said the one-off inflow relates to a short-term investment management agreement which prequels a bulk annuity purchase, expected to conclude in the quarter ending December 31, 2021, resulting in a one-off outflow.

“Demand for our investment solutions has also continued to build across both the advised and direct-to-consumer markets,” said Bell.

“Our managed portfolio service is growing in popularity with advisers as they recognise our focus on charges, choice and communication and we have recently added the service to four external platforms to further increase its availability.