It has been interesting checking Glass door reviews on all AIM companies where staff rate whether the company is a good place to work. Reassuringly Alpha FX gets 4.7 out of 5 from its 72 reviews while Applegreen gets a 2.3 from its 115 reviews. That worse than Sports Direct at 3.

Hargreaves Lansdown– H1 Results

Share Price 1879p

Mkt Cap £8,914m

Conflict Disclosure: No Holding

  • Results 0.6% net inflows in the 3 months to December is the lowest number since I started recording flows in June 2012. Notwithstanding that AUM are up 6% over 6 months and up 22% over 12 months to £105.2bn. H1 Revenue up 9% to £257.9bn and PBT up 12% to £171m. APS up 12% to 29.3p and DPS up 9% to 11.2p. The outlook is excited by structural growth. There are early signs of renewed flows since the election.
  • Estimates 11% revenue growth is anticipated to June 2020 and 12.6% PBT growth. That leaves £171m PBT to deliver in H2 which is exactly what has been delivered in H1. Looks too low.
  • Valuation PER 32X Yield 2.4%
  • Culture The 104 Glassdoor reviews average an average score of 3.7 which is middle of the road. Some reviews refer to the company getting too big. It may be that the culture has now moved away from the entreneurial energy it once had.
  • Conclusion It remains a good and expensive platform. Like St James’ Place. The shares might perform OK but I suspect large and expensive financial services providers will continue to be pilloried by the media.

Nucleus Financial Group – Q4 AUA Update

Share Price 175p

Mkt Cap £134m

Conflict Disclosure: No Holding

  • Update Net inflows were 1% in the quarter to December which compares to Integrafin at 2.5%. Over 12 months AUA are up 16% to £16.1bn.  . The statement says the inflow improvement in Q4 has continued into the new year and the company continues to invest in the platform.
  • Estimates Anticipate an 11% revenue increase  significant increase in 2020 which looks about right with AUA 16% up on a year ago.
  • Valuation PER 24.7X Yield 2.8%. Integrafin trades on 35.5X.
  • Culture A reasonable Glassdoor score of 3.9. The largely positive reviews such as “Wold in Sheeps clothing” is let down the occasional staffer who says it can be “soul destroying”.
  • Conclusion For the long term investor the compounding effect of Integrafin’s superior flows is more important than the premium rating. I sense the company needs more differentiation as I am struggling for a reason to own it other than rising tides lifting all boats.

jeremy@charltonillingworth.co.uk