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Quilter's replatform finally soft launches

Quilter's replatform finally soft launches

Quilter has stated its replatforming is on schedule as the "soft launch" of the new system has begun.

In an announcement to the stock exchange this morning (February 4) Quilter stated that the system is now being tested by its staff in a "live environment."

The statement read: "Soft launch is for selected staff and will allow the company to further validate system functionality, processes and controls.

"Activity has begun on a limited basis and will expand further over the next few months ahead of a controlled, phased migration of the existing book."

Quilter will be hoping to avoid the fate of the Aviva and Aegon platforms, which have been beset by problems since they relaunched in 2018.

Advisers using Aegon reported delays in their clients receiving income, problems with transfers and long delays on the phone.

Clients of Aviva reported a delay in receiving tax documents.

Paul Feeney, chief executive of Quilter, said: "I am pleased that we have reached our soft launch phase, which is an important milestone.

"The high quality delivery of this programme remains of utmost importance to us and we continue to prepare detailed migration plans to ensure customers and advisers remain well supported throughout the transition period."

Since embarking on the project, Quilter has ditched the first technology firm tasked with carrying out the work, IFDS, and hired FNZ.

Mark Polson, principal at consultancy the Lang Cat, said: "It’s good to see that Quilter has got to soft launch status. It’s been quite a road for them, so this must be very welcome.

"I like the idea of trying out the new kit on staff first, although of course that doesn’t replicate running an adviser firm with hundreds of clients.

I assume that the Quilter Financial Planning business will go live before it’s rolled out to external financial planning firms."

He said it was too early to tell how things would go at the firm after what had happened at rivals Aviva and Aegon, which experienced severe problems shortly after the move.

He said: "If Quilter can learn from the troubles of its peers and adopt this staged roll-out process – even if it takes longer than anyone wants – then it has a better chance of avoiding some of the negative experience and sentiment.

"But we shouldn’t be dismissive of just what a huge job replatforming a business of this size is – there will inevitably be bumps in the road along the way."

david.thorpe@ft.com