AJ Bell announces next stage of proposed £500m flotation

Andy Bell

Manchester investment group AJ Bell today announces that retail investors who want to apply for shares under its planned Initial Public Offer (IPO) need to be UK residents and have opened an account with AJ Bell by October 15, 2018.

AJ Bell is aiming to float on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in December 2018 or early 2019.

Existing non-advised UK resident customers can now register their interest in the IPO via the AJ Bell Youinvest website.

Existing advised UK resident customers should speak to their financial adviser about their options for accessing the IPO, the company said.

If the IPO goes ahead in December, the application period for eligible customers is expected to commence at the end of November or early December 2018, and be open for a minimum of seven days.

Customers will need to have cleared funds available in their AJ Bell account to cover the cost of the shares being applied for before the IPO application is made.

Eligible customers may apply for AJ Bell shares through one of, each of, or a combination of their SIPP, ISA, Lifetime ISA or Dealing account(s).

The minimum value of shares which must be applied for in each particular account is £1,000.

Share allocations will depend on the level of demand for the IPO.

Retail investors may only apply for shares on the basis of the information to be contained in a formal prospectus to be approved by the FCA.

If the IPO goes ahead in December, the prospectus is expected to be available on the AJ Bell website by the end of November 2018.

Chief executive Andy Bell said: “IPOs are traditionally done behind closed doors with retail investors rarely getting access to the flotation price of the shares.

“As a company that aims to make investing easy for people, this didn’t feel like the right approach for us and so UK customers that have an account with us by October 15, will be eligible to apply for shares in our IPO.

“We are expecting to publish an approved prospectus in November 2018, which will include our audited annual results for our financial year ending September 30, 2018, to help investors decide whether our IPO is right for them before the application period opens.”

The company announced its plans for a £500m float in March this year, saying it will “enable growth through an increased profile”.

Andy Bell, who founded the firm in 1995, said at the time: “An IPO is a natural next step in our journey and will provide a further boost to our future growth through the increased profile a stock market listing will give us.”

The group does not intend to raise new capital, although Bell himself could earn £15m from selling 3% of the group while retaining 25%. The largest shareholder, Invesco Perpetual, which currently has 44% will retain a “cornerstone shareholding” post-IPO.

Around 150 AJ Bell staff share 25% and Seneca Investment Managers holds the remaining 3%.