AJ Bell founder Andy Bell and other top bosses at the firm have donated three months of wages to a new fund created to help the battle against the coronavirus.
The investment platform said yesterday (April 8) it had launched the AJ Bell Wage War on Covid Fund — a fundraising pot under the umbrella of the AJ Bell Trust charity — which will be distributed to charities supporting the Covid-19 efforts or to those in need as a result of the pandemic.
The AJ Bell Trust has already allocated £50,000 of its charitable reserve to the fund, while Mr Bell, other board directors and senior management staff have donated their April, May and June wages to the fund.
The fund is open to anyone who wants to make a donation through the AJ Bell website.
Mr Bell said: “We are seeing individual acts of bravery, selflessness and kindness on a daily basis that should give us hope that the coronavirus will leave behind some positive legacies.
“Business leaders and our businesses have their parts to play in taking a socially responsible approach and we will all be held accountable as to how we react during the COVID-19 crisis.”
In terms of AJ Bell’s own firm, it stated no staff would be furloughed throughout the crisis — as the directors believed the government’s job retention scheme should be preserved for the companies that “need it most” — and the firm would not be deferring its VAT bill or claiming from any other support schemes.
Mr Bell added: “Every pound claimed under one of the government’s financial support schemes is a pound that our children and grandchildren will have to pay back.
“CEOs and business leaders are in a unique position to determine their business’ approach to the crisis and we should all lead by example.”
According to Mr Bell, society would not react well in the future to businesses which took government aid while making large profits, paying out large bonuses or paying dividends to shareholders during this crisis.
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