2018 was a big year for us. We completed two major change projects – listing on the Alternative Investment Market and agreeing a direct relationship with Bravura, who power our platform technology.
Alongside those we were pleased to deliver another year of profit growth, continuing the sequence started in 2012. Looking forward, it’s more vital than ever that we continue to improve our product capability both to drive the efficiency and sustainability of our business but also that of the advisers we partner with.
For 2018 we reported average assets under administration (AUA) of £14.1bn, up 13.5 per cent from £12.4bn in 2017. Our adjusted earnings figure, taking into account costs associated with the AIM listing, is up 33 per cent to £8.3m, and our profit for the year after tax has increased 15.7 per cent to £4.8m.
The number of active advisers using the platform has gone up 6 per cent to 1,396, and the number of clients has risen 7 per cent to 93,715.
At an operational level, our admission to AIM has meant a more mature capital structure in line with the pace of our growth. The unbundling of our technology and outsourcing services and our direct relationship with Bravura will also help power our development.
This has been evidenced in the beta launch of Nucleus Go, our new client portal, in our recent upgrade of Bravura’s Sonata technology and in our launch of a Junior Isa.
From a regulatory perspective, it was great to see the FCA conclude in its final platform market study that the platform market is generally competitive.
Alongside this, we believe the improved transparency being brought in under Mifid II will have a seismic impact when it comes to downward pressure on fund management fees, and in turn on end-to-end value for money for clients. We believe Mifid II will probably be bigger than the RDR in terms of its impact on the financial services sector.
Despite the market headwinds of the second half of last year, we remain of the firm belief that the great financial planning firms and the firms that work with them will continue to prevail, and we’re excited to deliver on our plans for future growth.