Investments 

Platform expects 20% growth due to rivals' woes

Platform expects 20% growth due to rivals' woes

The chief executive of Novia, Bill Vasilief, expects the assets on the Bath-based platform to rise by 20 per cent in 2019, driven by the woes of rival platforms.

Novia’s most recent set of results showed the company had assets under administration of £6.1bn at the end of March, an annual increase of 5 per cent.

Profits were 72 per cent higher at £5.6m.

He said the assets under administration have since risen to about £6.7bn, and he expects overall growth for the current calendar year to be "about 20 per cent".

Mr Vasilief said the inflows the firm is attracting are mostly from companies that have recently re-platformed as well as one platform that has announced it is to replatform this year.

He said: "The number one thing advisers want is service, and that has helped us this year. There are a number of advisers who have moved their business to us over the past year, and there are more to come."

The Aviva and Aegon platforms caused consternation among clients in 2018 due to widespread problems following a technological change. Ascentric also suffered problems, though not as severe as its rivals.

Data compiled by Fundscape and published this month showed Aegon Cofunds was still the second largest platform by assets in March, with £90.2bn. It had gross sales of £5.6bn, more than any other platform, but did not feature among the top five in net sales.

Novia itself recently announced the redevelopment of the front-end of its platform, while retaining the existing back-office platform which is powered by GBST.

Mr Vasilief had worked on the development of the Cofunds platform when employed by M&G, and then worked at Old Mutual during the development phase of that company’s platform.

He and colleagues from those firms then set up Novia in 2009, raising £10m from investor contacts in the City.

The firm started with 40 staff and now has four times that number.

He said: "When we started off, as with any platform, gathering assets was tough, rival firms would have said ‘don’t go to those guys, they are not going to survive.

"But we were able to get assets from people we were friendly with in the City, and it has expanded from there."

david.thorpe@ft.com

This story has been amended post publication to reflect that it was the Ascentric platform, not Transact, which had suffered problems late last year.

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