AJ Bell prepares for IPO with exclusive customer element

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 13, 2018

"He said the retail share offer that is being made exclusively available to the company's 172,000 customers represented AJ Bell's effort to "[enable] them to be able to share in our success". The remainder is split between other AJ Bell management (25%) and Seneca Investment Managers (3%).

Woodford Investment Management was previously listed as owning an 8 per cent stake in the company.

"We believe the outlook for our business is extremely positive", Bell said. Our focus on the needs of our customers has resulted in assets invested via our platform increasing by 26 per cent a year on average over the last five years, with total assets under administration hitting £42 billion.

Bell said an IPO is a "natural next step in our journey" and will boost future growth through raising the company's public profile. "The need for people to save and invest for their future has never been stronger and we are making it easier for them to do that".

Previous year the firm reported revenue of £75.6m, up from £64.5m in 2016, and pre-tax profit of £21.7m in 2017 versus £16.8m in 2016.

Meanwhile, Sky News reported Woodford had been unable to participate in a £150 million fundraise at challenger bank Atom.

AJ Bell said that its 172,000 clients would be the only small investors eligible for its initial public offering, which is set to value the stake of Andy Bell, its founder, at about £140 million.

The company declared a dividend of 28.25 pence per share for the 2017 financial year, up 10% on the year before.

Woodford became the "cornerstone" of Atom's capital base when he backed its launch in 2014, which at the time was the UK's first digital-only bank.

In a statement, Woodford suggested the disposal of AJ Bell and refusal to participate in the Atom fundraise was not due to liquidity concerns. "It has always been our clearly defined strategy to nurture young technology-intensive businesses through the early stages of their development".

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