AJ Bell is a financial services company providing online lifetime ISA, shares and stocks trading and Self Invested personal pension. AJ Bell was formed in 1995 by Nicholas Littlefair and Andy Bell in Manchester. Andy Bell remained onboard as the Chief Executive of the company while Littlefair first moved in 2009 to a non-executive role and finally left the company in 2011.
AJ Bell headquartered in Manchester also owns AJ Bell Media, a specialist financial business based in London, while its main business is operated under four brands including AJ Bell Youninvest, which was previously known as Sippdeal offering ISA, SIPP and trading directly to customers, AJ Bell Investcentre, which was previously named Sippcentre, offering ISA, SIPP and general investments to clients via FCA authorised advisers and AJ Bell Platinum, which is a bespoke SSAS and SIPP provider.
In January 2019, AJ Bell enjoyed an investment platform growth of 20% to £1.2 billion, although £2.7 billion was wiped off by the sharp stock market sell-off. The company also reported an increase in new members of 7,285 in the past three months, which took its client total to 190,498 with the company investment services now at £44.2 billion.
Licensing & Regulation
AJ Bell Holdings Limited, AJ Bell, AJ Bell Securities and AJ Bell Management Limited are regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, and all mentioned companies are registered in Wales and England. AJ Bell obtains the Morningstar Licensed Tools on an “as is” basis – not accepting liability for said Licensed Tools. AJ Bell also bars obligation for the Licensed Tools, including accountability for any failure, disturbance, interruption or imperfection in the functioning of any Licensed Tool, unless it results from as a direct outcome of the carelessness of AJ Bell.
Clients security and privacy are important to AJBell, which have several features and controls in place to protect all customers, traders and investors. On the other hand, the company also asks investors to make sure they are protected against all threats, and security tips include to never provide anyone with their full security details or password, not to open suspicious looking email attachments and to keep their anti-virus software updated at all times.
AJ Bell offering several mobile apps including iPhone and iPad apps as well as Android devices. The mobile apps are available for free download across all AJ Bell accounts. AJ Bell also offers apps for Mac, Tv, Apple Watch, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
All prices quoted via the mobile apps are 15 minutes delayed, although traders can deal inequities in the price quoted when the order was placed.
All the mobile apps available via AJ Bell use the same level of security including 256-bit encryption, while apps automatically time out when no activity takes place after 15 minutes. Mobile traders have access to the same research tools as available on desktop including the heatmap, most active, high/low breakouts, most liquidity, % gainers/fallers, bid/offers spreads and most active.
Brand & Functionality
AJ Bell as most online share-trading UK services are driven by the data of the Morningstar with a tab view of key ratios, broker sentiment, financials, charting and news. The company’s charting tools are good and provide investors with a range of 11 analysis tools as well as the opportunity to compare funds or shares to benchmark averages, news and to overlay dividend. The layout of AJ Bell Youinvest site is user-friendly and easy to navigate, while the portfolio builder allows investors to select between different portfolio types.
The AJ Bell Youinvest accounts section features six different account options, and before new clients can register an account, they need to select the type of account that suits their personal requirements best. The list of options includes Junior SIPP, Junior ISA, Lifetime ISA, Dealing account, Self-invested personal pension SIPP and the ISA stocks and shares account.
The Dealing account is popular for its low-cost dealing while it still offers a wide investment choice and there are no limits on the investment amount, while users get to deal on the go via AJ Bell mobile apps.
The ISA Stocks and shares account enables account holders to invest up to £20,000 in a tax year and to save tax since no capital gains tax on their investments.
By registering an AJ Bell shares and stocks account, new account holders get to open an ISA easily online and with the account use-ready within a few minutes, gain access to a range of expert solutions, investment ideas or select investments from a huge variety of options.
The registration process includes providing AJ Bell with personal details such as name, surname, gender, date of birth, valid email address, contact numbers and national insurance numbers. Other details required also includes banking details as well as funding details.
The quickest way to fund your AJ Bell account is by using your debit cards, any cash transferred via debit card is available instantly. Other options when it comes to funding your AJ Bell account is via personal cheque, although it will take up to 5 days before the cheque clears. Once a member, regular deposits can also be done via direct transfers from nominated bank accounts.
AJ Bell offers trading in 24 international markets. These include Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the US and Canada. The charges for selling or buying international shares online is £9.95 per deal while purchasing or selling of international shares via telephone is subject to a charge of £29.95 per deal. In Canada, AJ Bell offers online trading in main Canadian and US markets available in CDIs and quotes for online traders are available mostly between 2:30 to 9:00 pm UK Time. The company also offers trading in the Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australian markets via telephone, although the minimum investment size is £10,000.
At AJ Bell all UK orders such as exchange-traded products, warrants and equities go through the electronic order system and website that are connected to retail service providers. Should the trader ask for a quote the system poll a quote from the retail service providers. The online quotes from the retail service providers are not guaranteed and could be cancelled during the quoting time-period. Telephone orders are handled by the dealing services team, which takes the order from the trader, provides a price indication and will attempt to also obtain prices from retail service providers or route orders to manual execution.
Once an order is received by AJ Bell, it is executed as soon as possible unless the company believe postponing the order would be in the best interest of the trader.
The banking section offers a pdf form that can be used for the purpose of withdrawing money from dealing account to building society accounts or nominated banks accounts. Cash withdrawals to nominated bank account take up to a maximum of 8 working days to reflect in the client’s bank account.
AJ Bell offers support via an online FAQ that offers answers to a few questions most asked by new traders, should customers still require help they can also complete the online form by providing their name, surname, email address, telephone number and a message to obtain assistance via email. The alternative is to call the customer services department on the telephone number displayed on the website. Telephonic assistance is available only between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm from Monday to Friday.
The AJ Bell research platform, screener tools and Quickrank can be used for funds, individual shares, investment trusts and EFTs. The range of tools enables traders to screen different categories such as asset class and geographical regions, fees, performances and market capitalisation. Traders also have access to a data calendar and financial market diary as well as several in-house articles that cover most of the basics important to new investors while in-depth trading articles are focussed on advanced and intermediate traders and investors.