(Alliance News) - AJ Bell PLC on Thursday reported a rise in full-year profit and revenue and recommended a special dividend to return surplus capital to shareholders.
The Manchester-based provider of investment services and platforms also announced the replacement of its chief financial officer, to come into effect in the middle of next year.
AJ Bell reported a pretax profit of GBP55.9 million in the year ended September 30, up 14% from the GBP49.2 million reported the year before.
Annual revenue grew 15% to GBP145.8 million from GBP126.7 million.
AJ Bell ascribed this growth to a 30% increase in customer numbers to 382,754 from 295,305.
The company also added that customer retention remained high and mostly flat at 95% during the year and that its range of investment solutions seemed to be popular with consumers.
The investment services provider declared a final dividend of 4.50 pence per share, down 3.4% from the 4.66 pence paid the year before.
On top of this, the company also proposed a special dividend of 5.00 pence for the year in line with its policy to periodically return surplus capital to shareholders.
This takes the total dividend for the year up to 11.96 pence, a sharp 94% increase from the total 6.16 pence one year ago.
AJ Bell affirmed it is well-positioned to capitalise on future opportunities as the UK investment platform market continues to grow.
The company added that it started to invest in two new simplified platforms during the year.
One was created for the advised market and another will be serving the direct-to-consumer market.
Both platforms are expected to launch in the new year.
Separately, AJ Bell also announced that Peter Birch will replace Michael Summersgill as chief financial officer on July 1, 2022, subject to Financial Conduct Authority approval.
"We continue to see significant long-term opportunities in the investment platform market. The pandemic has highlighted the need for people to take more control over their financial future, with increasing numbers of people investing for the first time. We believe there is increasing demand for simplified, app-based investment propositions in both the direct to consumer and advised markets, so we are investing in two which we will soon bring to market," Chief Executive Andy Bell commented.
Shares were down 2.1% at 386.89 pence each on Thursday morning in London.
By Abby Amoakuh; firstname.lastname@example.org
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