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AJ Bell profits up 39% as platform assets hit £9.6bn

AJ Bell has reported a 39 per cent increase in pre-tax profits, from £19m in 2011 to £26.5m this year, as total assets under administration rose to £17.5bn.

The Sipp provider’s accounts for the year to 30 September 2012, published today, reveal total assets under administration increased 17 per cent, from £15bn last year to £17.5bn this year.

AJ Bell’s platform business has helped drive growth, with the number of customers increasing 22 per cent, from 41,064 to 50,110, and assets under administration rising from £7.3bn to £9.6bn.

AJ Bell’s annual dividend to shareholders has increased 18 per cent, from 21 pence last year to 24.75 pence in 2012, on the back of the results.

Chief executive Andy Bell (pictured) says: “We are living proof that investment platforms with a low cost charging structure can be profitable as long as they have scale, efficient IT led processes and a service culture that focuses on what customers want.”

Bell also uses the results to continue to put pressure on the FSA to regulate platform operators.

He says: “Another issue raised by the focus of recent regulatory activity is the need for consistency in adjacent markets.

“Currently, operating a platform is not a regulated activity. Given the lessons learned from the Sipp market, overseeing all platform operators under a common regime would help to avoid asymmetry in the market and should guard against any future industry-wide issues.”

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