The growth and net inflows for the quarter were driven by the platform business. The growth was predominantly in the direct to consumer business.
Total platform customers closed at 268,444, up 27% year on year and 8% for the quarter. Of this advised customers were up 11% over the last year and 2% for the quarter.
Platform underlying net inflows increased by 30% year on year to £1.3bn. Advised net inflows were £0.5bn, in line with the previous year, whereas direct to consumer net inflows were up 60%.
AJ Bell is also preparing to move into the retail cash savings market with the launch of the AJ Bell Cash savings hub via its D2C platform. The AJ Bell Cash savings hub will enable customers to access a range of competitive notice and fixed-term savings accounts from a range of UK authorised banks.
AJ Bell will begin testing the Cash savings hub with a small group of existing customers before the end of July and expects to launch it to all AJ Bell Youinvest customers by the end of the calendar year.
Total assets under administration (AUA) increased to £54.3 billion, up 7% over the last 12 months and 12% in the quarter. The FTSE All-Share increased by 10% over the quarter.
According to the quarterly trading update, AJ Bell’s management currently expects profit before tax for the year (ending 30 September 2020) to be at least £2.5m above current market consensus.
This is a result of stock market volatility driving record levels of dealing activity by D2C customers. Although trading volumes have fallen from the peak levels seen earlier in the Coronavirus pandemic, the number of trades placed by D2C customers in the quarter more than doubled compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Andy Bell, CEO at AJ Bell, said: “The quality and commitment of our staff has enabled us to operate all services on a business as usual basis throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. This operational resilience demonstrates the strength of our business model which has been appreciated by many customers and advisers. The long-term growth drivers of the platform market remain undiminished and we are well positioned within the market to benefit.”