SLA's 1825 takes hit from market falls

SLA's 1825 takes hit from market falls

Standard Life Aberdeen’s financial planning and advice business 1825 has seen its assets under advice fall as a result of last year's decline in UK equity markets.

Standard Life Aberdeen’s full year results for the period ended December 31, 2020, published this morning (March 9), showed assets under advice at 1825 fell from £5.7bn at year-end in 2019 to £5.5bn last year.

Net flows across 1825 and SLA's discretionary fund manager, Aberdeen Standard Capital, also stagnated, after £1.1bn inflows were offset by the same amount in redemptions.

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However, its acquisition of Grant Thornton’s wealth advisory business and BDO Northern Ireland’s wealth management business in 2019 meant fee-based revenue for 1825 and the DFM hit £80m in 2020, up from £70m the year prior.

The two businesses also achieved organic growth in terms of new clients.

Meanwhile on the platform side of the business, which is made up of the provider’s Wrap and Elevate platforms, assets under management increased to £67bn, from £62.6bn in 2019, making it the number one adviser platform in the UK, according to SLA.

Despite this, net flows dropped to £1.9bn from £2.3bn in 2019 and fee-based revenue was down from £150m to £137m.

Currently, Standard Life Aberdeen is pushing forward with its strategy to simplify the business, which involves the sale of its Parmenion platform.

Parmenion offers model portfolios for advisers as a discretionary service, but its mere £8.1bn assets under management are overshadowed by Wrap and Elevate, SLA’s more mainstream adviser platforms.

According to the provider, the aim of the new strategy is to “return the business to revenue and earnings growth”.

To do this it will focus on each of its three vectors: investments, adviser and personal.

It stated: “In our adviser vector, we understand the importance of time to advisers, their businesses and their clients. 

“Our core strategy is to be the easiest platform to do business with and to use well designed technology to deliver great experience for advisers and their clients.”

As part of this simplification, the business is currently rebranding to bring all its various arms under one brand, with further details to come later in the year.

This came after Phoenix Group acquired the 'Standard Life' brand from Standard Life Aberdeen for an undisclosed sum last month as the firms moved to extend their strategic partnership.

Stephen Bird, chief executive officer at Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “When I joined the company we had at least five client facing brands plus a different corporate identity. 

“Clients, colleagues and partners told me our branding is confusing and needs to be fixed. In response to this feedback, we will be rebranding to use one consistent brand name for our publicly listed company and for all our client facing businesses. 

“Our brand will make a promise that we will fulfil and having a single brand will allow us to get a better return on the investments we make in marketing and sales.”