AJ Bell customer numbers up 27%

by | Jan 20, 2022

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AJ Bell, one of the UK’s largest investment platforms, today issues a trading update in respect of the three months ended 31 December 2021.

Performance overview

Total customer numbers increased to 398,066, up 27% over the last year and 4% in the quarter, with total net inflows in the quarter of £1.3 billion.

Total assets under administration (“AUA”) increased to £75.6 billion, up 21% over the last year and 4% in the quarter. Over the same quarter the FTSE All-Share Index rose by 3.7%.

This performance was delivered against a very different market backdrop to that seen in the comparative quarter last year, when stricter government restrictions helped to drive AJ Bell’s total customer growth, gross inflows and net inflows to record levels. The continued growth in Q1 evidences the resilience of the AJ Bell business model in different market conditions and was again driven by the Company’s platform propositions and investment business.

Platform business

Customer numbers increased by 15,309 in the quarter to close at 383,274, up 29% in the last year and 4% in the quarter
o    Advised customers of 131,610, up 17% in the last year and 4% in the quarter

o    D2C customers of 251,664, up 35% in the last year and 4% in the quarter

AUA closed at £68.1 billion, up 23% in the last year and 4% in the quarter
Gross inflows in the quarter of £2.7 billion, up 23% on the prior year (2020: £2.2 billion)
Net inflows of £1.4 billion, down 7% on the prior year (2020: £1.5 billion). This was due to an exceptional bulk annuity purchase, previously signalled in the FY21 year-end trading update in October, which resulted in a one-off outflow of £241 million from both advised platform AUA and AJ Bell Investments AUM in the quarter
o    Advised net inflows of £0.6 billion in the quarter. Excluding the impact of the exceptional outflow, underlying net inflows were £0.9 billion, up 13% on the prior year (2020: £0.8 billion)

o    D2C net inflows of £0.8 billion in the quarter, up 14% on the prior year (2020: £0.7 billion)

AJ Bell Investments

Assets under management (“AUM”) closed at £2.1 billion, up 110% over the last year and down 5% in the quarter due to the £241 million exceptional outflow explained above
Excluding the impact of this one-off outflow, underlying net inflows in the quarter were £182 million (2020: £147 million)

 

Andy Bell, Chief Executive Officer at AJ Bell, commented:

“We have had a solid start to our new financial year with customer numbers, gross inflows and assets under administration all growing steadily. 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 with 4,690 net new advised customers added in the quarter, 38% more than in the same period last year. Gross inflows of £1.6 billion to our advised platform were 23% higher than the comparative period and underlying net inflows were robust in what is normally a quieter period for asset flows.

“The direct-to-consumer market continues to grow strongly, with increasing numbers of people being drawn to the benefits of personal investing. In the quarter we delivered further growth in D2C customers and AUA and are now entrusted with over £20 billion of assets by a quarter of a million retail investors.

“Our trusted brand and easy to use platform propositions, supported by our increasingly popular investment solutions, ensure that we are well positioned to deliver further growth in both the advised and D2C markets and we approach the traditionally busy tax year end period with optimism.”

Three months ended

31 December 2021

Advised Platform D2C Platform Total Platform Non-platform  

Total

   
Opening customers 126,920 241,045 367,965 14,789 382,754
Closing customers 131,610 251,664 383,274 14,792 398,066
   
AUA and AUM (£billion)    
Opening AUA 45.8 19.5 65.3 7.5 72.8
   
Inflows(1) 1.6 1.1 2.7 0.1 2.8
Outflows(2) (1.0) (0.3) (1.3) (0.2) (1.5)
Net inflows/(outflows) 0.6 0.8 1.4 (0.1) 1.3
   
Market and other movements(3) 1.1 0.3 1.4 0.1 1.5
Closing AUA 47.5 20.6 68.1 7.5 75.6
   
Closing AUM 1.2 0.9 2.1(4) 2.1
   
   
Three months ended

31 December 2020

Advised Platform D2C Platform Total Platform Non-platform  

Total

     
Opening customers 108,911 172,183 281,094 14,211 295,305
Closing customers 112,308 185,745 298,053 14,256 312,309
   
AUA and AUM (£billion)    
Opening AUA 36.3 13.4 49.7 6.8 56.5
   
Inflows(1) 1.3 0.9 2.2 0.1 2.3
Outflows(2) (0.5) (0.2) (0.7) (0.7)
Net inflows 0.8 0.7 1.5 0.1 1.6
   
Market and other movements(3) 2.6 1.4 4.0 0.4 4.4
Closing AUA 39.7 15.5 55.2 7.3 62.5
   
Closing AUM 0.6 0.4 1.0(4) 1.0

(1) Transfers-in, subscriptions, contributions and tax relief

(2) Transfers-out, cash withdrawals, benefits and tax payments

(3) Total investment returns and revaluations, net of charges and taxes

(4) Platform AUA which is held in AJ Bell’s Funds or Managed Portfolio Service

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