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A happy New Year for AJ Bell founder as he cashes in £17m of shares

It’s a happy New Year for AJ Bell’s founder as he cashes in £17m of shares in the investment platform

The founder of investment platform AJ Bell has made almost £17million from selling a chunk of his stake.

Andy Bell, who started the company in Manchester in 1995, yesterday sold 3.6m shares at 460p each.

His colleague Fergus Lyons, managing director of the online investment division, sold 1.8m shares worth £8.1million.

Cashing in: Andy Bell (pictured), who started the company in Manchester in 1995, yesterday sold 3.6m shares at 460p each

It is understood that the pair sold down their stakes to meet demand from a new institutional investor, who wanted to buy in. It is not yet known who the investor is.

Bell, a 54-year-old father of four, owes almost the entirety of his wealth to the company he founded and now leads.

The Liverpool-born entrepreneur had a modest upbringing and after working as an actuary and sports coach for a few years, set up AJ Bell with his friend Nicholas Littlefair.

Lyons, 59, joined in 2000 after several years as a banker. He was rewarded for his years of service with a chunky stake when the company floated in 2018 for £675million. Since then, its value has almost tripled to £1.9billion.

Lyons still owns a 3.8 per cent stake, worth £72.8million while Bell’s remaining 22.7 per cent stake is worth £430.5million.

AJ Bell’s shares dipped 2.6 per cent, or 12.5p, to 462.5p yesterday.

The platform, which competes with the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor, now has 295,305 customers, up 27 per cent over the year, and looks after £56.5billion of savers’ money.

It has fared well through the pandemic, as investors took advantage of stock market volatility. 

Though he still owns more than a fifth of the shares, Bell has cashed in by selling almost £8million worth in August, and £23million a year ago.