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Funds platform AJ Bell to overhaul board with new recruits

Written by on 11/11/2020

AJ Bell, the retail funds platform, has kicked off the search for a trio of new board directors as its veteran chairman prepares to step down.

Sky News understands that Manchester-based AJ Bell, which floated on the stock market in 2018, is working with the search firm Warren Partners on plans to appoint a successor to Les Platts and two additional non-executive directors.

Sources said the company – run by founder Andy Bell – had decided to expand its non-executive oversight as a result of its strong recent growth.

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Image: The platform was deluged by demand earlier this week after promising results from a coronavirus vaccine

It now has more than £54bn of client money under administration, and has seen customer numbers rise to more than 280,000, it said in a trading update in July.

AJ Bell has a market capitalisation of £1.75bn, making its board of just six directors small by the standards of its listed peers.

On Monday, it found itself deluged by demand from clients wanting to trade shares in the wake of the announcement that a Pfizer-led consortium had produced promising results from a coronavirus vaccine.

A number of retail platforms, including larger rival Hargreaves Lansdown, experienced technical outages because of the level of customer activity, triggering an angry response from some users who were unable to trade.

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Interactive Investor, the second-biggest player in the market, is preparing the ground for a stock market listing next year.

Mr Platts has chaired AJ Bell since 2008, and is expected to step down at the company’s annual meeting in 2022.

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An AJ Bell spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday.

 Sky News

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