Insider - March 2018

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This month’s Insider might just be the biggest to-date, with various stories about new and forthcoming developments as we approach another exciting period in our history. With so much going on, it would be easy to miss a small but important milestone for the team at AJ Bell Investments; on 27 March it was one year to the day since we launched the AJ Bell Passive funds range. The funds’ success reflects the hard work we put into designing, pricing and running them, so I’m confident that this is just the first of many successful years ahead.

AJ Bell to go public

As you’ll probably have read by now, we are preparing to list AJ Bell on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange sometime towards the end of 2018 or early 2019.

I know that our Chief Executive, Andy Bell, has already sent an email about this, in which he explained that we are planning to have a retail element to the IPO* that is exclusively available to AJ Bell customers. We have received questions about whether we can offer that to advisers. It will not be a surprise that we have been advised that the rules relating to inducements prevent us from offering advisers preferential access to the IPO. Obviously, any advisers who are also AJ Bell customers will be able to access the IPO alongside all other customers.

This is an extremely exciting development for us, and it comes on the heels of some excellent financial results. For the 12 months ended 30 September 2017 AJ Bell reported record revenue of £75.6 million (FY16: £64.5 million) and pre-tax profit of £21.7 million (FY16: £16.8 million). We remain completely debt-free, and this strong financial position enables us to continue investing in the AJ Bell Investcentre platform.

...we are preparing to list AJ Bell on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange sometime towards the end of 2018 or early 2019.

You can find more information, including the last five years of our financial results in the investor relations area of our website.

At a time when the need for people to save and invest for their future has never been stronger, we feel confident that we are well placed to work with you to make this happen.

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than originally invested.

* The IPO will be open to UK residents only

Meet our new Non-executive Directors

I’m very pleased to introduce Eamonn Flanagan and Laura Carstensen* as AJ Bell’s most recent Non-executive Directors.

Eamonn has made a name for himself as one of the leading financial services analysts in the market, and is recognised as one of the best in the country for mid-size to smaller companies in our sector.

Laura brings with her a wealth of experience, previously a partner at City law firm Slaughter and May, as well as former deputy chair of the Competition Commission and a former commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Amongst other roles she is currently Non-executive Chair of Park Group plc and Non-executive Director and Chair of the Values and Ethics Board Committee of The Co-operative Bank.

Needless to say, both individuals will be a major asset to us as we navigate our upcoming listing on the London Stock Exchange! Welcome aboard, Eamonn and Laura.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank John Tomlins who has stepped down from the Board.

John has served as a Non-executive Director for over four years, providing valuable support to the business through a phenomenal period of growth and development. We wish him every success for the future.

*subject to FCA approval

AJ Bell’s Multi-Asset Summit

You may have already received an invitation to our new Multi-Asset Summit in Manchester on 2 May and London on 3 May. To give you the best chance of securing a place, I wanted to let you know that places are limited and filling up so if you would like to attend the session and join us for a networking lunch afterwards, please register now.

A brief outline of the content you’ll expect to hear and the full agenda can be found here.

Digital strategy marches on

On 19 March we launched a new customer secure site which not only looks much slicker, but also makes it far easier for your clients to get valuations and up-to-date information on their accounts.

Thanks to some additional functionality, you will also be able to set customers up to use our new execution-only option, called the Funds & Shares Service XO. This will allow them to place deals on all or part of their SIPP accounts.

If you would like to set up a Funds & Shares Service XO account for new or existing clients, just complete the Additional/change investment partner form. We will soon be adding the Funds & Shares Service XO as part of the application process for new customers.

MPS range increases but charges reduce

As I’ve said before, our Managed Portfolio Service has proven to be very popular and we’re really pleased with the feedback many of you have sent us regarding the service. However, we are always looking for ways to improve the offering.

...we have extended the MPS range to include a broader selection of passive, active and income-based investment options.

In order to help you find a portfolio that more precisely fits with your clients’ particular investment goals and objectives, we have extended the MPS range to include a broader selection of passive, active and income-based investment options.

We have also reduced the management charge to just 0.15% p.a. plus VAT – which is roughly half the level that many of our competitors charge. If you are not already using our Managed Portfolio Service, I would certainly recommend visiting our MPS page and finding out more.

Moneyfacts Awards 2018

First of all, I’d like to thank those of you who have already voted for us in the Moneyfacts Investment Life & Pensions Awards. If you haven’t had chance to vote yet, there is still time to have your say and rate the platform providers you use here.

Tax year end - Adviser Support Team extended hours

Just a quick reminder that our Adviser Support Team will be extending its opening hours in the run-up to 5 April. Staff will be available between 8am and 8pm from Tuesday 3 April 2018 to Friday 6 April 2018. When submitting business over this period please remember that all forms need to be sent to our new address:

AJ Bell Investcentre
4 Exchange Quay
Salford Quays
M5 3EE

Staff will be available between 8am and 8pm from Tuesday 3 April 2018 to Friday 6 April 2018.

Funds & Shares Service custody charge

As you will be aware, the quarterly custody charge for the period 1 January to 31 March is due to be debited on, or shortly after, 23 April. Please make sure that your clients have enough money in their Funds & Shares Service cash accounts to pay this charge.

The cash management view on our website makes it easy to see when account deductions are due and to plan your clients’ cash accounts accordingly. You can access this feature by logging into your account, going to the ‘Client list’ tab, selecting ‘Cash management’ from the drop down of available views and then clicking ‘Apply view’. To access the cash management tools for a particular client and account, just click ‘View’.

It is worth remembering that regular disinvestments can be established which attract no dealing charges and offer a cost-effective way of disinvesting to ensure ongoing commitments, such as the custody fee, can be covered.

Other ways that you can make money available to cover charges are outlined below.

  • For SIPP accounts you can contribute* or instruct a transfer of funds from the SIPP cash account to the Funds & Shares Service account online.
  • For other accounts you can arrange for your client to pay in extra funds*.
  • For all accounts you can sell assets at the usual online dealing charge (£3.95).

* Subject to contribution/subscription limits.

Monthly service performance

To give you a flavour of our service delivery and how we are performing, our typical turnaround times for a number of key service areas are outlined below. This is not provided as a formal measure of our service levels, but rather to give you an idea of how our Customer Services Team is currently performing.

We will update this in each issue and flag any hotspots which may occur, particularly in the lead-up to peak periods. Looking across all of the areas listed below, we are currently hitting the indicative timescales provided in 93% of cases.

Managing Director

Fergus worked at a major bank for over 20 years before joining AJ Bell in August 2000. Since then he has worked in many areas of the business, and is currently Managing Director of AJ Bell Investcentre. Fergus is also responsible for AJ Bell Investments and our Platinum SSAS/SIPP products.