What is our purpose?

Read Time
4 minute read

As a business, we help people invest, and this is at the heart of the AJ Bell Way. Our purpose, as techies at AJ Bell, is to learn, use and apply the right technology whilst gaining an understanding of the business, to build an investment platform that’s easy to use, and helps our customers invest for their future needs with a simplified and delightful user experience. These customers are regular people like you and me who are saving for a car, their first home or planning for their retirement when they can no longer work. Technology is a huge part of our business: in my slightly biased mind, technology is the business!

How do we work?

We have product aligned engineering teams consisting of developers, test automators and DevOps underpinned by a fantastic Enterprise Architect Team, an Infrastructure Team that is driving innovations across Hybrid Cloud and an IT Security Team whose focus is not only to protect us and our customers but also to ensure they create a positive developer and customer experience. With a newly formed, best in class centralised UX Team, we are all on a journey together to create the best user experience for both our internal applications as well as our online platforms.

We have a culture of trying new ideas, and if they fail, fab! Failures are seen as learning which we reflect upon, share across the teams and move forwards. If we don’t fail, it means we haven’t tried anything new and hence we are not innovating but remaining stagnant – which is boring! As an AJ Bell guiding principle, we are energetic and we never stand still!

Our practice is to collaborate, but we do not wait for consensus as the objective is to move fast or fail fast, and continue to deliver for the business. Having senior management with the same mindset of try small, iterate and scale makes life so much easier as we apply the same when it comes to budgeting new ideas and concepts. We have a robust governance framework but without the usual red tape and bureaucracy which is where innovation typically dies an early death!

At AJ Bell, given how nimble we are, it’s an environment where you can innovate and have a positive impact for our people, our customers and our proposition.

We have offices in Manchester, London & Bristol and fully embrace the hybrid working model where the team decides how best they can work together and deliver for our customers and business.

Why do we need hot shot techies who believe in collaborating and working as a team?

We are on a journey where we have made massive improvements across our engineering process and we are still continuing on this front. Taking Conway’s Law, we have incrementally iterated through to an organisational structure which enables us to deliver software using modern engineering principles.

AJ Bell is serious about tech – a whopping 29% increase in our 2021 budget compared to 2020 has modernised our tooling, processes and infrastructure. Despite these improvements, and increasing our release cadence to the highest it has ever been, there still remains an insatiable demand from our business who want innovative solutions catering to our growing customer needs, and they want to partner with technology. The business understand that engineers are a huge part of their success, enabling our colleagues in operations to deliver on a best-in-class customer service.

We have career pathways for technologists catering for those who want to go into management, as well as those who want to remain hands-on and excel as engineers without compromising on financial package. The old adage of “get into management to get paid” does not apply here at AJ Bell where we value outcomes, collaborations and learnings.

All of this coming together makes it an exciting time to join, where you can learn, upskill and develop with great technology, collaborate and partner with some really smart (but normal) human beings and make an impact by working on a platform that helps people, regular people, invest for their future.

As a mid-size firm with the Technology Management Team made up of hands-on engineers means that you have an environment where technologists are heard and understood, where you can develop at pace, with minimal bureaucracy, and your changes and improvements have a much larger and visible impact that is recognised.

Our tech stack enables us to use the right tech for the right job! Key tech we use is C#.Net Core, Angular, React, NodeJS, SQL Server and MongoDB deployed on Hybrid Cloud. But that’s not all – where we need to be using Python or building platforms using Golang and GCP, we will and we do!

We are growing our technology workforce with the right people to have that additional fire power. So, if you want to be in an environment where you can continually learn, improve, iterate and innovate then we want to hear from you!

Which areas could I be working in?

We are hiring in pretty much all areas of Tech. From Service Desk to Cloud Engineers, from Developers to Test Automators and IT Security Engineers.

  • We have next level innovation happening with our new simplified advisory proposition, Touch by AJ Bell, which is being built from the ground up with zero legacy.
  • We are also building a simplified mobile-only D2C proposition called Dodl by AJ Bell. The emphasis here is all about simplifying the offering and engaging customers who may be hesitant or scared about getting into the world of investments. Look out for the monsters!
  • We have recently completed a huge deployment with True Hybrid Cloud technology, working with world class partners where we can transition workloads from OnPrem, to cloud, and across multi-cloud which is amazing.
  • We have many other exciting projects being worked on using some of the latest technology, so if you are interested, do apply by clicking here!

How do we help our community?

Not only do we help regular people invest for their future and retirement, which is a great deed in itself, especially where we live in a world of on-demand ‘I want everything now and pay later,’ we also help local schools like Brookburn Primary School in Chorlton. To avoid them going to landfill, we service and donate our old laptops – which are still in a great condition – and at the same time, we encourage children to take interest in STEM subjects so we can continue closing the future labour gap in the technology space.

As part of AJ Bell’s Wage War on COVID – set up at the outset of the pandemic to provide support to people directly impacted by the COVID crisis – we donated 759 tablets to care homes, hospitals and youth clubs nationwide, in the hope that relatives could use technology and capability which simply were not funded or affordable by the public sector to stay in touch with their loved ones during the lockdowns.

We work with local universities like Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford by taking on apprentices, and partaking in HackCamps where we can encourage the next generation, and give them real life experience of working in Tech & Finance.

What do we offer?

  • Career progression pathways – distinguished between engineering and management.
  • Programs for personal and professional development which encourage mobility. We have diverse talent from the business who came into tech and have flourished, now writing code, managing small teams and automating manual tests!
  • We also create opportunities for the mature workforce as well. We have a 20-year veteran from the business who is now training to be a developer: they’re supported by experts and being trained to code C#, Angular, and SQL, and build secure solutions.
  • We focus on creating a modern, vibrant and safe working environment for staff. We have a new building with free onsite gym and roof terrace. The social aspect has been difficult during the pandemic but normally we offer payday drinks and a range of social events to engage staff and build collaboration between teams.
  • Market competitive salary.
  • A FinTech with over 1,000 employees.
  • Over £75bn assets under administration (December 2021).
  • Over 398,000 retail customers (December 2021).

By Mo, Chief Technology Officer