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D2C growth helps AJ Bell assets to £46bn ahead of IPO

Growth of AJ Bell’s direct-to-consumer platform business has sped up over the past year, while expansion of its advised platform flattened off, as inflows from defined benefit (DB) transfers have begun to slow.

D2C growth helps AJ Bell assets to £46bn ahead of IPO

AJ Bell has increased customer numbers to its direct-to-consumer (D2C) platform by nearly 50% over the past year. However, slowing inflows from defined benefit (DB) transfers have resulted in a flatter year for its advised business. 

The business plans to float in December or January, with an exclusive share offer for retail investors who held an AJ Bell account by 15 October.

Ahead of that, it has published a trading update for the year ending 30 September 2018. Total assets under administration have increased 16% to £46 billion, with total net inflows of £4.4 billion over the 12-month period.

Assets on its advised platform saw net inflows of £4.2 billion to reach £30 billion in total. Assets on its D2C platform saw net inflows of £1.7 billion (up from £1.3 billion last year). This came from a near 50% increase of D2C customers, from 64,709 to 94,555 over the year. 

That gave total net platform inflows of £5.9 billion.

AJ Bell said DB pension transfers continued to contribute to new business in the advised market and remained above their pre-2017 levels, though they have fallen from the peak seen in 2017 and first half of 2018.

Total customer numbers rose 20% to 197,912.

Chief executive Andy Bell said his business had ‘continued to attract new business from financial advisers looking for a stable, cost-effective platform with high-quality service’.

Bell said plans for an imminent IPO were still on track despite some recent market volatility.

He said: ‘While markets have become more volatile since the period end, our business model and market position remain fundamentally strong. We are progressing well with our plans for a main market listing on the London Stock Exchange at the end of the year or beginning of 2019.’

Watch our exclusive interview with Andy Bell about his IPO plans, recorded in May.

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