AJ Bell  

AJ Bell sees 10% increase in platform customers

AJ Bell sees 10% increase in platform customers
Andy Bell of AJ Bell at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester

AJ Bell has reported a 10 per cent increase in customers on its platform in the past six months, alongside a rise in inflows.

The group saw its platform customers rise to 403,383, with non-platform clients rising to 14,926 in the six months to March 31.

Overall, the group’s retail customers grew 9 per cent to 418,309.

Revenue rose 2 per cent to £75.5mn, compared with the same period in 2021.

However, revenue per assets under management dropped 3.7 bps, to 20.3 bps.

Chief executive of AJ Bell, Andy Bell, said the impact of normalised customer dealing activity and lower interest rates compared to the same period last year resulted in a lower revenue margin in this period. 

“However, our diversified revenue model positions us well across all market conditions and we are now seeing the positive impact of recent interest rate rises on our revenue margins,” he said.

The group posted a rise in net inflows to £74.1bn, compared with £72.8mn at the end of October last year.

This is despite a £700mn increase in outflows, which were £2.7bn, which AJ Bell said was driven partly by an exceptional bulk annuity purchase by an adviser firm which resulted in a one-off outflow of £200mn from both advised platform assets under administration and AJ Bell Investments AUM. 

A further £300mn in non-platform outflows was due to the decision to close its institutional stockbroking service.

The uncertainty across global markets driven by the cost of living crisis, inflation and war in Ukraine contributed to a £1.5bn drop in asset values, the firm said. 

This compares with a rise in value of £5.6bn in the same period last year. 

Shares in the group rose 1.7 per cent in trading this morning.

Investcentre fee changes

The company’s adviser platform Investcentre also announced a raft of changes to its fees this morning (May 26).

Cash transfers-in to a Sipp, currently £60 plus VAT will be free of charge, and the Sipp setup charge (currently £120 plus VAT) will also be free.

The dealing charge for proportionate disinvestments across portfolios in the funds And shares service will also be removed.

Billy Mackay, managing director of AJ Bell Investcentre, said the business is always looking for ways to share economies of scale as it grows. 

“At a time when so many people are dealing with the impact of the rising cost of living, now felt the ideal time to make our latest round of charge removals and reductions. 

“These changes will enable financial advisers to offer their clients even greater value via our platform and reinforce our position as one of the most competitive platforms in the advised market.”

The changes will take effect from June 10.

sally.hickey@ft.com