Investment platform AJ Bell is probably best known for its execution-only offering to retail clients large and small. A space in which it not only competes against Hargreaves Lansdown but also with a host of other stockbrokers and disruptive trading apps.

However, there is another side to AJ Bell’s business and that is the IFA and advisor segment who have customers that prefer to be guided by professionals or choose to leave investment decisions to a money manager.

What is AJ Bell doing?

AJ Bell is no stranger to this market but it is now taking that relationship with IFA’s and their customers one step further through the launch of a new app called Touch.

The new app came about as a result of the company’s acquisition of financial software business Adalpha back in March this year.

The Touch App will allow advisers and their clients to share and view information about investments and portfolio performance in real-time, across multiple devices.

Touch can also be used as an investment platform and will record a timeline of both transactions and interactions between an adviser and their clients.

The platform could reduce the need for face to meetings which could now be held virtually instead.

Speaking about the innovation Billy Mackay MD of AJ Bell’s Investcentre said that:

“This technology will be doing what we have previously hidden behind the platform, which is using mobile technology to communicate and to evidence the transactions which happen between advisers and clients.”

He added that:

“Nobody has ever launched something like this in the adviser space.”

When will the new app be available to advisers and their clients?

AJ Bell will continue to operate its existing IFA and Adviser services in parallel with the new app, and Touch will have a soft launch among a small group of advisors before the end of the year and provided that goes well it will be launched to a wider audience thereafter.

Touch will launch with access to stocks and shares ISA’s and a General Investment Account or GIA, though other services will be added over time.

Why has AJ Bell done this now?

The introduction of technology into this area of AJ Bell’s business reflects both the changing demographic of the company’s client base, which is getting younger and the competitive landscape, as apps, Robo advisers and smart investment products continue to eat into the market share of traditional providers.

The Touch app has effectively been developed in house, with very limited reliance on third-party providers, as such, it could become an asset in its own right and perhaps help to partially transition AJ Bell into the Fintech space.

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