In amongst all the recent doom and gloom surrounding Brexit and the other various geo-political issues apparent in recent months, a refreshing breath of positivity is the AJ Bell success story.
Co-founded by current CEO, Andrew Bell, in 1995, AJ Bell has grown to be a behemoth of the financial services industry and an icon of the North. The company has come along way since those early days, becoming one of the largest investment platforms in the UK with over £44bn of assets under management and a workforce of over 700.
Those 700 are well looked after in an office that also rejects the conventional, incorporating a gym and roof-top terrace amongst other facilities, at their Salford Quays home.
It was within the wider economic context of slow growth rates in the UK economy and both the FTSE 100 & 250 indexes dropping over 10% throughout 2018, that firm embarked on an ambitious IPO in December. This was to prove one of the great success stories in an otherwise gloomy year, with the shares in peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle flopping on IPO shortly before.
Launching at a share price of 160p, giving AJ Bell a valuation of £651m, the share price immediately rocketed to 216p at the start of trading, an increase of a third within a few hours. Over the next month, the share price continued to increase to reach a pinnacle of 299p, an increase of 87%!
The share price had fallen slightly after reaching these dizzying heights, settling in January 2019 at around 270p before a resurgence more recently has seen the share price reach 300p again. Overall a very impressive story for a firm that is only going to carry on surpassing expectations and represent the power of Manchester and the North.