Aviva reveals plan to win advisers back

Aviva reveals plan to win advisers back

Aviva will launch new enhancements to its adviser platform during 2019, as it hopes to restore trust in its credibility.

Lindsey Rix, the provider’s managing director of savings and retirement, told FTAdviser that Aviva is working hard to rebuilding its relationship with advisers and clients, after facing several issues with its platform migration.

She said: "It is fair to say that we haven't seen a massive flight away, but we've certainly seen conversations with advisers wanting to see the platform stabilised before seeking to put more business with us, which I think is a fair reflection."

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Ms Rix explained that Aviva will complete any "outstanding remediation on the platform and any remaining fixes, which are now predominately presentational and individual issues, as opposed to anything systemic".

She added: "Importantly, we are really looking forward to being able start delivering strategic enhancements to fully leverage the platform for advisers and our customers."

However, she declined to disclose what enhancements will be made to the platform at this time.

Ms Rix explained that the platform had a significant release in February, which helped with some of the remaining issues it was facing.

She said: "On the whole the platform is stable, is delivering what is needed to our customers and our advisers, but we are conscientious that there is still more work to be done."

According to its annual results published today (March 7), the provider had platform net flows of £3.9bn in 2018, which compared with £6.2bn in the previous year.

This comes after clients of the platform were beset by a range of problems from the beginning of last year.

The platform was unavailable for six days in January 2018 after it moved to technology provider FNZ, and there were issues with the new client reporting function.

There were also technical issues which affected payments for people in drawdown, while advisers reported they were not getting their payments through the platform.

Paul Gibson, managing director at Granite Financial Planning, believes that Aviva has a huge task on their hands. 

He said: "More money hasn't moved because it was probably impossible to do so when they were having their challenges.

"Getting the basics right before any further enhancements would be a better idea. They failed our due diligence process so fortunately none of our clients were affected.”

Ricky Chan, director and chartered financial planner at IFS Wealth & Pensions, agreed with Mr Gibson.

He said: "I think it'll be a huge mountain to climb for Aviva (or any platform) to rebuild the trust, particularly as I understand that this isn't the first time they've had mis-steps in the advisory market. 

"Advisers generally don't like moving platforms frequently because of the disruptions it causes for clients and the business (in addition to the regulatory burden, paperwork, retraining support staff, time and costs associated), so once Aviva has lost trust within their existing adviser base, I think it'll be hard to regain it. So for those that have stopped using Aviva, it’s unlikely they would return anytime soon.