Home > AJ Bell chimes in with a trading update

Investment and share trading platform, AJ Bell, updated the market and investors today with a trading update.

What was in AJ Bell’s update?

The update covered the three months to the end of December 2021 and it contained some impressive figures.

Total customer numbers rose by +27.0% over the last year, including a +4.0% increase during the final quarter of 2021, and the firm now has just over 398,000 clients.

Assets Under Administration (AUA) have also grown and now stand at £75.60 billion, up by +21.0% year over year. Growing in line with customer numbers at +4.0% during the last quarter of 2021.

However net inflows to the firms platform business grew at a slower rate when compared to 2020,  -7.0% slower in fact, though that differential was inflated by what the firm described as an exceptional bulk annuity purchase, which saw a £241.00 million ouflow.

Speaking about the trading update CEO Andy Bell said that:

“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”

What happened to the AJ Bell share price on the news?

The share price opened higher at 357.80p, traded upto 357.86p and promptly sold off to a low of 346.20p, before rallying to be unchanged on the day. Suggesting there were few surprised in the announcement.

AJ Bell’s share price is down -8.43% year to date and by -25.69% over the last 52 week,s which means it has underperformed its main rival Hargreaves Lansdown, whose own share price is lower by just- 17.67% over the last year and largely unchanged year to date.

What does the market say?

Brokers Shore Capital were the first to put pen to paper this morning and they were broadly positive, noting that the AUA figure was +2.0% above their estimates for the quarter and that they expected the stock and its earnings to be upgrade by the street as a result.

They note that both AJ Bell You Invest and AJ Bell Investcentre were growing at +4.0% and that the businesses had seen new flows of £0.70 and £0.60 billion respectively.

Shore Capital is targeting full year inflows of £3.30 and £3.80 billion which could suggest that AJ bell will need to pick up the pace of client and funds acquistion in 2022.

Shore Capital rates AJ Bell as a buy at 347p but didnt offer a target price.

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