AJ Bell, one of the UK’s leading investment platforms, has appointed Numis Securities to explore an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the main market of the London Stock Exchange which reports said could value the group at upwards of £500mln.
In a statement, the firm – which operates in both the direct-to-consumer and advised markets – said the IPO would include a retail share offer, available exclusively to AJ Bell customers and is expected to take place towards the end of 2018 or early 2019.
The group added that it does not intend to raise new capital as part of the IPO given “its financial strength, highly profitable business model and debt-free balance sheet.”
It said the group’s two largest shareholders, co-founder and chief executive Andy Bell and Invesco Perpetual, will both retain cornerstone shareholdings post-IPO.
Andy Bell, commented: “An IPO is a natural next step in our journey and will provide a further boost to our future growth through the increased profile a stock market listing will give us. We believe the outlook for our business is extremely positive.”
He added: “Our highly profitable, proven model continues to deliver outstanding performance. In 2017 revenues grew 17% to £75.6mln whilst our efficient operating model delivered a 29% growth in profit before tax to £21.7mln.“
The group said trading continued to be strong in the company’s first quarter to 31 December 2017 with customer numbers increasing to 172,000 and assets under administration (AUA) of £42bn.