Investment platform grows annual assets under administration to £56.6bn

Andy Bell

Figures at Manchester investment platform AJ Bell have improved, it revealed in a trading update for its financial year ended September 30, 2020, this morning.

Total customer numbers increased by 27% in the year to 295,305, with total assets under administration up 8% to £56.5bn. In comparison, the FTSE All-Share Index fell by 19% in the year.

Assets under administration (AUA) rose from £52.3bn to £56.5bn.

Growth in the year was driven by the platform business. Platform customer numbers increased organically by 62,925 to 281,094, up 29% in the year.

Advised customers increased by 10,855 to 108,911, up 11% in the year, while D2C (direct to consumer) customers increased by 52,070 to 172,183, up 43% in the year.

Platform underlying net inflows, representing organic growth in the year, increased by 28% versus the prior year to £4.1bn (FY19: £3.2bn).

Advised underlying net inflows of £2bn were up 11% on the prior year, while D2C underlying net inflows of £2.1bn were up 50% on the prior year.

Platform AUA closed at £49.7bn, up 11% in the last year.

Chief executive, Andy Bell, said: “We are pleased to report another year of strong growth in customers and assets under administration, delivered against a continuing backdrop of extreme market volatility and significant disruption to people’s lives caused by COVID-19.

“Our focus on the needs of our customers and our easy-to-use platform has fuelled a 29% increase in platform customers, with particularly strong progress made in the direct-to-consumer market.

“Inflows also rose markedly, resulting in a robust increase in assets under administration, despite heavy falls on the UK stock market.”

He added: “Our operational resilience has shone through since the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK and we were able to adapt quickly to ensure we continued to meet the needs of customers and advisers.

“Our staff continue to do a fantastic job during this very difficult time and the growth of the business that we are reporting today could not have been delivered without their resilience and outstanding work.

“We continued to enhance our platform propositions this year as part of our growth strategy.

“Our Retirement Investment Account is a new streamlined pension product which has been very popular with financial advisers.

“More recently we launched our Cash savings hub to help retail investors generate better returns on their cash savings at a time when NS&I and major retail banks have cut their interest rates.

“We have experienced a number of economic cycles during our 25-year history and have a track record of increasing AUA year after year in all market conditions.

“Our platform propositions remain well positioned to continue delivering strong growth in both the advised and D2C markets.”