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Standard Life’s Tiller: platforms struggle with IFA changes

Standard Life’s Tiller: platforms struggle with IFA changes

Standard Life has unveiled a plan of action for its recently-purchased Elevate platform after the company’s propositions head warned some businesses are struggling to cope with changes in the advice industry.

The financial services giant bought Elevate in November and has since revealed that the platform will not merge with its wrap offering. 

Standard Life has outlined a number of changes as it looks to make Elevate “slicker” for advisers, which includes reducing the amount of paperwork and improving its reporting systems.

The refreshed platform will also be able to transfer assets between tax wrappers and will give customer access to a greater range of discretionary fund managers at a discounted rate.

Speaking to FTAdviser, David Tiller, the head of adviser and wealth manager propositions at Standard Life, said he wanted Elevate to be the easiest platform to use in the market.

He also said he was seeing a number of platforms struggling to cope with changes to advisers’ priorities.

Mr Tiller pointed out, for example, that the transactional nature of some older-style fund platforms means it relegates the role of the adviser on execution, rather than the ongoing management of the plan.

“Picking funds and products is the outcome of advice, not the advice itself.”

Advisers are now more focused on pension decumulation, for example, and the proposition head said many platforms are struggling to support these shifts in the advice industry without installing costly upgrades.

“It is vital that platforms help advisers to constantly review and reshape client plans as needs evolve,” he said.

Elevate will also offer a tool that lets advisers see the tax implications when sourcing income across multiple tax wrappers.

A fully embedded CGT management tool that holds book costs and pulls valuations directly from the platform.

There will be improvements to client reports to make them easier to understand, while prioritising the most important information.

Axa agreed to sell Elevate to Standard Life in May 2016 as the French company announced plans to abandon the UK life and savings market to refocus its business.

In February Standard Life revealed it paid £31m for the platform and the transaction was listed as a £5m “bargain purchase” gain in its accounts.

Alex Reynolds, IFA at Advies Private Clients, said: "The platforms that we work with have coped well with changes but there are always improvements needed."

He pointed out that the barrier is usually the cost of implementing these changes, which can often mean a long wait for updates to systems.

"One problem we have come across is utilizing two or more investment portfolios with the same investment product, which only a few platforms currently allow and this is something we would certainly like to see more of."

katherine.denham@ft.com