Ascentric 

Price overhaul behind booming sales, says Ascentric’s Taylor

Price overhaul behind booming sales, says Ascentric’s Taylor

Changes to its pricing back in May are the behind a dramatic jump in sales at Ascentric, according to managing director Jon Taylor.

In the first half the year, sales onto the platform increased by 40 per cent.

Assets under administration grew by 9 per cent to £13.4bn at 30 June, compared with December 2016.

Mr Taylor said while the pension freedoms legislation introduced two years ago has continued to be “a factor” in the growth of the platform’s assets, “it has not been a major factor".

Instead he said “adviser behaviour” had been changed by the new “simplified” pricing structure.

The new pricing structure means clients pay a single charge of 0.3 per cent of their assets, on any platform, up to £1m. Assets of between £1m and £3m will be charged at 0.1 per cent, and assets of between £3 and £5m are charged at 0.06 per cent.

The company stated these are “all-in charges”, with no costs for dealing or other incremental costs over the year.

Mr Taylor compared this to the model his firm previously used, and which is used by others in the industry, whereby an annual charge is levied and then additional costs are added over the course of a year as being akin to “buying a car, and then being charged a penny every time you want to use the indicators”.

He said since the new charges came into effect on 1 May, there has been a 40 per cent increase in sales, as, in his view, adviser behaviour has shifted, with the a “transparent cost of ownership” becoming appealing.

“This is the first half-year results where we have seen the impact of new pricing, and even then, we have only had those charges for one of the quarters covered by those half-years.”

The asset growth was a consequence of some consolidation of existing pension pots, some new business, and some pension transfers, he added.

The platform market is presently rife with consolidation. 

Aegon is presently merging it’s Arc platform with Cofunds, which it bought last year. Standard Life bought the Elevate platform last May from Axa, though it has stated it will run them separately from each other.  

Mr Taylor said consolation is not something Ascentric will be part of.

He said the intention is for the firm to “stick to its knitting”.

Mr Taylor said: "Merging two platforms will prove extremely difficult, and extremely distracting. We don’t want to be distracted from what we do now, from improving the experience for our customers.”

David.Thorpe@ft.com

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