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Platform Focus: AJ Bell Sippcentre

AJ Bell has grown out of a Sipp heritage to become a broader keenly priced platform but has experienced growing pains along the way


Over the past few years, AJ Bell has transformed the business away from its Sipp heritage as it morphs into a broader platform.

The acquisition of stockbroker Lawshare in 2007 makes this platform better than many at supporting listed securities and the recent purchase of specialist financial publisher MSM Media adds an interesting new string to its bow.

The group supports both direct and advised clients, rebranding from Sippdeal to AJ Bell Youinvest in direct-land. It supports sporting events such as the World Squash Championships and sports teams including Lancashire County Cricket. 

In the advised space, the group announced that it would rebrand the Sippcentre platform as AJ Bell Investcentre in April but this has not been implemented yet.

The platform is keenly priced and falls into the “lower cost, fewer frills” camp. Interestingly, the decision has been taken to cap fees in the direct space but not (yet?) on the advised platform. Nonetheless, advisers often mention the competitive fees.

Other pluses include good access to multiple investment vehicles and open architecture. As for usability, we hear some stories of trouble online and our direct roadtesting has unearthed a few glitches. Growing pains are cited by some, specifically problems with adviser charging earlier in the year, but general feedback is positive.

Finally, enhancements to investment performance tools and data pages on the website are in the pipeline. 

The former will enable advisers to produce reports that include a full performance breakdown of the portfolio. 

The improved data pages should allow advisers to carry out ad hoc or regular bulk downloads of transaction and valuation data, payments in or out and adviser fees.

The Budget should be good news for AJ Bell, which should be ready to embrace the drawdown opportunities presented.

Holly Mackay is managing director of The Platforum



Angus Millen

Founding partner

Millen Capital

We have been using AJ Bell since 1998. Having added Isa and GIA on top of the traditional Sipp, they have become our main platform of choice. The BDM we are in contact with and all their other staff are always helpful and informed. My own Sipp is with them, which is probably the best endorsement and AJ Bell’s charges are very low and transparent – we like that. They are playing catch-up a little bit on some of their IT capabilities but are investing in catching up with other more established platforms and we are looking forward to their continued improvement in this area.”



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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Chaeap isn’t always best. When it comes to cheap ATS are well in front.

    As far as AJ Bell are concerned they might well suit the larger adviser, but their service is pretty abysmal and their IT proposition is certainly no Ferrari.

    Reporting to adviser and client leaves an awful lot to be desired. Where they score is that they are the default for Skandia SIPP and were the first with the Cofunds SIPP, where I guess they have a significant amount of their assets. I would have thought they will need to seriously buck up if they are to retain these.

  2. good day for golf 19th August 2014 at 7:04 am

    Very poor IT system
    frequant non trades and requirement to call and phone through trade
    beware hidden charge of 1% on foreign shares with no disclosure on transaction notes nor post documentation to support charge- goes totally against the grain of low charging and the 1%’s start to mount up! USD can not be held on the platform so it’s a non starter for foreign shares as the transaction fees will kill any returns on regular trades.

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