|Bid||438.20 x 0|
|Ask||438.40 x 0|
|Day's range||425.80 - 446.80|
|52-week range||272.56 - 487.00|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.72|
|PE ratio (TTM)||46.27|
|Earnings date||05 Dec 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.06 (1.42%)|
|Ex-dividend date||07 Jan 2021|
|1y target est||N/A|
There's no doubt that investing in the stock market is a truly brilliant way to build wealth. But if when you choose to...
AJ Bell said total platform customers closed at 332,276, up 34% over the last year and 11% in the quarter amid a surge in young people joining.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s shareholders cared more about its involvement with Neil Woodford than its customers did, it seems. Shares in the investment shop stand 27pc below their level just before the suspension of the Woodford Equity Income fund in June 2019, while shares in rival firms AJ Bell and IntegraFin have risen by 10pc and 39pc respectively. But Hargreaves still managed to attract 220,000 new customers last year to take its total to 1.4m. Despite this vote of confidence by the people who matter, investors’ apparent anxiety about the Woodford connection has meant that readers who followed Questor’s advice to buy Hargreaves shares in January 2017 have made only a modest 24pc, whereas IntegraFin has gained 82pc since our tip in December 2018 while AJ Bell’s shares have risen almost threefold over the same period, annoyingly for this column in view of our decision to bank a quick 50pc profit just weeks after our “buy” advice. We did so on the grounds of valuation, although these three companies fall into the enviable category of businesses that can grow sustainably with minimal need for capital and at very high profit margins. This is a potent mix that offers the opportunity for long-term compounding of returns – and there is no better way for patient readers of this column to grow rich. It also means that, within reason, a high multiple of earnings is no reason to avoid the shares. The key attribute of these businesses is that their revenues can grow while their costs remain broadly fixed. Once they have built the platform that allows customers to trade and hold shares and funds, their costs are little more than those of running a call centre. Meanwhile, there are several avenues to rapid growth. These firms make a percentage of the value of the assets that their customers own on their platforms, so signing up more customers, more investment from existing ones and investment growth when markets rise all contribute.