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Podcast: Andy Bell on entrepreneurs and getting going in finance

11 July, 2017

Andy Bell (, may have made 2016’s Sunday Times rich list, but he confesses that he is still driven by a fear of failure. Nevertheless, he considers this ‘a good thing’ and certainly it’s seen him build a pretty successful business.

The eponymous AJ Bell ( now looks after around £28bn on behalf of clients, run by Andy’s ‘bright, loyal’ team.

AJ Bell offers online investment platforms and stockbroker services, so Andy should know a thing or two about investment. He admits he hasn’t always been the most sensible investor, but says the knowledge he’s gleened boils down to five ‘w’s’.

  • Why: Why are you investing? For retirement? For income? For financial freedom? This can help determine the type of investments you should be looking at.

  • What: What sort of risk do you want to take? There are three key risks: A risk of a shortfall – eg. you don’t have enough for tuition fees; a risk that you miss your time horizon – you retire in nine years time, rather than seven; or a risk of a change in personal cicumstances – a divorce, for example.

  • Where: Where do you invest? The UK? Internationally?

  • Which: Which investments do you pick? Stocks? Shares? Which type of funds? He believes beginners should probably avoid direct investment in shares, something he’s learnt through experience!

  • Who? Who do you invest with? He obviously believes that AJ Bell is a good choice, but graciously says that there are a number of excellent platforms out there.

For an investor with £100 to invest, Andy would definitely steer them towards an ISA, even though he believes the Government is in danger of over-complicating them.

He says the UK economic and market outlook doesn’t look terribly exciting. The UK government has too much debt and too little growth, but an investor making regular savings doesn’t need to worry about that too much. They just need to make sure they are diversified and look long-term.

Other things it’s good to know about Andy: He’s a total brainbox, with a first in maths and an actuarial qualification; He’s not swayed by luxury, but he does like a low fat chip and couldn’t live without his ActiFry (retailing at £120). He’s not averse to binge-watching box-sets and couldn’t pick a favourite among his three dogs, but is definitely not keen on his ‘feral’ cat. BM thinks he just got a bad one.