Banking

AJ Bell advised platform inflows grow 36% to £3.8bn

Figures released today (21 October) said overall the company saw inflows increase 52% to £6.4bn during its last financial year with customer numbers up by about a third to 382,754.

Its total assets under administration increased by 29% in the year ended 30 September 2021 to close at £72.8bn compared to £56.5bn in its last financial year. It said, in comparison, the FTSE All-Share Index rose by 24% and the MSCI World Index rose by 27% in the year.

The firm said its platform business had “once again delivered strong organic growth in customers, net inflows and AUA during the year”.

Total platform customers increased by 86,871 to close at 367,965, up 31% in the year.

Platform net inflows increased by 43% on the previous year to £7bn. Advised net inflows of £3.8 bn, up 36% on the prior year which were £2.8 bn. D2C net inflows of £3.2b, up 52% on the prior year and platform AUA closed at £65.3bn, up 31% on 2020’s £49.7bn.

It explained: “The one-off inflow relates to a short-term investment management agreement ahead of a bulk annuity purchase. This agreement is expected to conclude in the quarter ending 31 December 2021, which will result in a one-off outflow.”

Chief executive Andy Bell said: “We have delivered another year of strong organic growth with total net inflows up 52%, AUA up 29% and customer numbers up 30%, compared to the previous year.

“Our award-winning platform propositions, serving both the advised and D2C markets, enable us to capitalise on strong customer demand for long-term investment products, whether that be advised or self-managed.

“£3.8bn of platform net inflows were in the advised market where the breadth and value of our proposition enables financial advisers to deliver solutions that meet the differing needs of their clients at a highly competitive price. This represents growth of 36% in net inflows compared to the prior year, with customer numbers up 17%.”

He added: “£3.2bn of platform net inflows were in the direct-to-consumer market where we have seen very strong demand from retail investors throughout the pandemic. Customer growth of 40% in the year helped to drive a 52% increase in net inflows compared to the previous year, with the majority of this being in ISAs and pensions as customers focus on building long-term, tax efficient investment portfolios.

“Following the gradual easing of Covid restrictions over the course of the summer, we have seen retail trading activity return to more normal levels compared to the peaks seen earlier in the year. However, we are pleased that our key drivers of long-term growth, namely customer numbers and net inflows, have continued strongly. In the final quarter of our financial year, net new platform customers increased by 16% and platform net inflows increased by 78% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2020. 

“Demand for our investment solutions has also continued to build across both the advised and direct-to-consumer markets. Our managed portfolio service is growing in popularity with advisers as they recognise our focus on charges, choice and communication and we have recently added the service to four external platforms to further increase its availability. In the D2C market, our multi-asset funds continue to prove popular as customers seek low-cost investment solutions that are managed for them in line with their risk profile.”

 

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