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Boom in number of younger customers continues, says AJ Bell

"Our assets under administration surpassed £65 billion for the first time and momentum remains strong going into the second half of our financial year," said chief executive officer, Andy Bell

AJ Bell PLC -

AJ Bell PLC (LON:AJB) said the run-up to the new tax year was the wealth management platform operator’s busiest ever.

In the first three months of 2021 customer numbers increased 11% to 346,797 and were up 32% year-on-year.

READ: New generation of younger investors are casting a blind eye to risks

Assets under administration increased by 4% in the quarter (35% year-on-year) to £65.2bn. Net inflows in the quarter were £311mln, up 132% on the prior year (2020: £134 million).

“Our adviser platform saw its largest-ever quarterly increase in new customers,” said Andy Bell, the chief executive officer of AJ Bell.

The direct-to-consumer platform saw record growth in customer numbers and inflows in the quarter, up 29% year-on-year to £0.9bn, in line with advised inflows.

“We continue to see growing numbers of younger people joining the platform as they look to take control of their long-term financial future via pensions and ISAs."

He said new and existing customers were continuing to consolidate existing investments onto the FTSE 250 company's investment platform, meaning it is growing quickly while maintaining a average customer portfolio of £79,000.

READ: Survey shows younger people willing to consider wider range of investments than older investors

"Our managed portfolio service is growing increasingly popular with financial advisers and our range of multi-asset funds is seeing strong inflows, with our Responsible Growth fund proving particularly popular,” Bell added.

Neil Shah, the director of research at Edison Group, the research house, said the surge of retail investors over the pandemic saw AJ Bell sustain a "barnstorming" year.

"Important to note is that advised net inflows, whilst healthy at £0.9bn - are in line with last year - whilst the D2C inflows, also £0.9bn, is the source of growth having sustained a 29% hike on the year prior. Again, this hints at a strong market for investors looking to essentially manage their own money - a trend that appears to have persisted as we begin to re-emerge from lockdowns. AJ Bell is capitalising on this, with customers consolidating their investments onto the platform, meaning average portfolio sizes of around £79,000.

"On the assets under management side, AJ Bell's results mirror another key investment trend: ESG. The firm report their 'Responsible Growth' fund as proving particularly popular among financial advisers. Overall, this latest update shows us more than that the pandemic triggered a surge in retail activity, it also shows that many of those investors are here to stay," Shah said.

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