Aviva says D2C platform will not compete with advisers

Aviva says D2C platform will not compete with advisers

Aviva is looking to “expand the pie” with the launch of its direct to consumer platform, building non-advised client’s assets to the point where they may need to pay for something over and above the purely transactional.

Aviva told FTAdviser about the non-advised consumer platform back in June, with a spokesperson stating it would be further developed over time, complementing existing adviser and corporate platforms.

This followed plans for the Aviva Consumer Platform being announced last July, stating it was aimed at tackling the ‘advice gap’ created in part by the Retail Distribution Review.

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Rodney Prezeau, Aviva’s consumer platform director for retirement solutions, told FTAdviser he saw the D2C offering as “expanding the pie” rather than being a threat to advisers, pointing out “as these customers wealth increases, decisions and complications potentially get bigger and there will be more need to seek paid advice”.

The platform will encourage consumers to obtain full personal advice before making major decisions about their retirement, but he added that for some it is simply not in their interests to pay full advice fees, given their circumstances or investable assets.

As for the issue of so-called ‘orphan clients’ - those introduced by an adviser, but who have since lost contact - Mr Prezeau said that Aviva is going through the logistics of contacting them.

“We want to respect the adviser relationship, but if all the data shows they are truly orphaned then we would reach out to them and see what they are looking for, be that re-starting with an adviser or going direct.”

Those execution-only platform clients without an adviser will be referred to network Tenet, while Friends Life customers will continue to be referred to Foster Denovo advisers, after the national adviser established the deal in April.

Aviva’s new system also hosts an open-architecture investment offering, built from scratch and powered by technology provider FNZ.

Both the Aviva Investment Isa account and Aviva Investment account will be available on the platform, along with the self-invested personal pensions account, with drawdown functionality provided for when customers wish to start using their retirement savings.

Those using the direct platform will be sign-posted to seek financial advice if they require it at key decision points, such as choosing whether to access their pension pot under the new pension freedom rules.

The provider stated the consumer platform has a simple and transparent charging structure, with no charges on entry or exit and fees set out over various asset bands: 0.40 per cent for the first £50,000 of assets, 0.35 per cent for the next £200,000 of assets, 0.25 per cent for the next £250,000 of assets and no fees on any assets over £500,0000.

Fund-based charges also apply, with a core management charge on customers’ total assets (excluding cash) rather than on separate products.

Customers will be able to see all of their investments in one place, with the ability to transfer existing pensions and Isas to the platform, consolidating more assets and reaching lower price tiers.