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AJ Bell: IPO is not ‘jobs for the boys’

Bell-Andy-2017-CUTAJ Bell founder Andy Bell has promised that shares in the platform will be available to current users and small investors, not just big financial institutions, as it prepares to list.

Later this year or early next year, the platform will offer a slice of the business to retail investors in a float expected to value it at around £500m.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Bell says: “Too many flotations feel like ‘jobs for the boys’ where the investment banks and fund managers look after each other. Many customers have asked us about buying shares and now they will get a chance.

“Our customers believe in the business. If you believe in a business you want to get into that business as early as possible.”

Platform pressure: Will stock market floats breed adviser conflicts?

Bell tells the FT that while he will be reducing his own stake from 28 per cent to 25 per cent of the company, with Invesco Perpetual also set to sell down from 44 per cent to 25 per cent, no new capital will be raised.

Bell and Invesco will remain the largest shareholders. Star manager Neil Woodford sold down his 8 per cent stake in the business earlier this year.

Currently AJ Bell already pays a 28p a share dividend. The expected valuation would be around 17 times pre-tax profit for this year.

Special report: The future of fixed income

Bell tells the FT he hopes the listing will raise the profile of the company as investors turn away from traditional life companies to cheaper platforms.

“The platform market is growing faster than ever. Some is new money but a lot of money is coming from old style insurance company policies. They are too expensive,”


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