AN ENTREPRENEUR who launched an investment firm from the ground is set to see his company go for flotation on the London Stock Exchange this week.

Former Rainford High schoolboy Andy Bell, now 52 is co-founder and chief executive of AJ Bell, an investment platform based at Salford Quays.

Andy has led the company for 23 years, from its beginnings in a tiny ‘broom cupboard’ office to its 93,000 sq ft head office at Exchange Quay which employs 750 staff.

A J Bell now handles £46 billion on behalf of 198,000 customers.

Andy also attended Brook Lodge School and graduated from the University of Nottingham.

He spent three years in America as a football coach before returning to Britain to pursue his interest in the finance business.

Andy launched In August 1995, using £10,000 of personal loans, along with friend Nicholas Littlefair.

The firm enjoyed the advantage of being IT-base and in 2000 AJ Bell launched the first online self-invested personal pensions (SIPP), which revolutionised the market.

They also acquired a stockbroker in 2007 which enabled a big change to broaden the firm's range - moving from pensions into ISAs and Dealing accounts in 2011.

And Andy’s family will travel to London for the flotation on Friday, December 7, with the firm expected to be vauled up to £675m.

Andy has two siblings, Janet and Helen, who lives in Ormskirk and Rainford and parents Carol and Jim who live in Rainford.

Jim said: “Carol and I always say we are just as proud of his normal lifestyle as we are about his fortune.

“It says a lot about Andy that his best friends at the age of 52 are men who he went to school with or met at University in Nottingham.

“Many of them still meet up every Thursday to play five-a-side football and they regularly go skiing together in France.”