AJ Bell recorded a slowdown in the amount of cash flowing onto its investment platform in the first three months of the year even as customers bumped upwards, in a sign DIY investors are edging back into the market.
In a trading update today, the investment firm said its net inflows touched £1.2bn for the period to the end of March, down from the £1.6bn registered in the same period last year.
A cooling of the volatility that has roiled markets over the past 12 months has tempted investors back into the markets at the start of the year and bolstered AJ Bell’s assets under administration, however.
The firm said the total assets on its investment platform closed up three per cent at £68.6bn, as the firm recruited some 20,000 new customers.
Tricky time for investment platforms
Michael Summersgill, chief executive of AJ Bell said in a statement it had been a “robust” but “slightly subdued start to 2023”, adding there was “strong momentum in the run up to the tax year end, with £1.2bn of gross inflows and £0.6bn of net inflows in March alone”.
“We have continued to grow customer numbers and assets under administration across the platform, building on our latest market share gains in both the advised and D2C markets,” he added.
“We added over 20,000 customers during the quarter and now have over 150,000 advised customers and over 300,000 DIY investors on our platform.”
The jump in customers comes after a tricky period for investment platforms after volatile markets spooked investors last year.
Assets under management in its investment management division also rocketed to £3.9bn to start the year, up 70 per cent over the last year and up 15 per cent in the quarter.
Investors welcomed the announcement today, with shares rising around two per cent. Analysts at Liberum reiterated their buy rating for the firm in a note to investors.
“We believe AJ Bell deserves to trade at a premium given the higher-than-sector average earnings growth, excellent track record of customer growth and low-cost platform.”