AJ Bell cheers record profits in first annual results since IPO

Stockbroker and investment platform AJ Bell has revealed a record-breaking profit haul after completing its first year as a public company.

The group, which floated last December, saw pre-tax profits surge by a third to £37.7 million in the year to September 30, on sales up 17% to £104.9 million.

It cheered a 17% rise in retail customers to 232,066, as its two flagship platforms proved popular with investors.

This also helped assets under management swell by 13% to £52.3 billion, with AJ Bell shrugging off volatile market conditions as stocks have been buffeted by global trade worries.

Its performance has also come in contrast to that of rival Hargreaves Lansdown, which has been under heavy fire since the Neil Woodford fund suspension saga erupted in May.

Hargreaves is facing potential legal action over claims it should have removed Woodford’s funds from its favourites lists, and its shares have lost more than a fifth of their value since the Woodford fund was suspended.

Meanwhile, AJ Bell has seen shares rise by more than 75% since it listed on the London stock market a year ago.

But the stock has eased back after its stellar run and was down another 4% after the full-year figures on Thursday.

Andy Bell, chief executive at AJ Bell, said: “These results are a strong endorsement of the business model and growth strategy that we outlined in the run up to our IPO a year ago.”

AJ Bell also announced plans to share its success with charitable causes.

It is launching a new share option plan that will pay out about £10 million to charities if it can boost earnings per share by at least 100% over three years and 150% in five years.

Nik Lysiuk, a research analyst at finnCap, said AJ Bell was “very highly rated” and said the outlook for the firm is “confident and positive given the UK investment platform market”.