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How Novia intends to avoid replatforming 'at all costs'

How Novia intends to avoid replatforming 'at all costs'

Novia has laid out how it intends to avoid replatforming “at all costs” by deploying a technology strategy which moves away from one “big monolith” to a set of “microservices”.

Its new chief executive, Patrick Mill, shared the platform provider’s renewed, post-acquisition strategy on a call hosted by the Lang Cat yesterday (November 24).

Mill said Novia will run as a self-sufficient platform, separate from Copia, its discretionary fund manager.

“We don’t see cross-subsidisation,” said Mill. “They both need to stand on their own two feet.”

By taking a microservices approach, Novia’s CEO envisions a world where advisers’ clients can pick from “a menu” of services, meaning they pay for what they use so the adviser doesn’t have to cover the additional costs.

“You've got a core system which holds the data and does the basics,” said Mill, referencing Novia’s core provider GBST. “But it's the apps that bring it alive.”

Novia was bought by private equity firm AnaCap almost a year ago.

It is currently gearing up to migrate the books of Amber Financial Investments to GBST, another of AnaCap’s investments sometime “early next year”. It will then integrate Wealthtime, which sits on its own proprietary technology that will become part of Novia’s platform.

“I see the evolution of platform technology, so that it's not this big monolith, actually it's different segments and microservices,” said Mill

“So you can add them or replace them, but your core system stays as is. Replatforming is to be avoided at all costs.”

Mill used to work at Alliance Trust Savings, which replatformed back in 2017 and generated considerable upset amongst advisers over delays.

It saw Mill take a direct-to-consumer platform and rebrand it as an advised platform.

“Quite rightly, the advisers challenged me in terms of: ‘Well hold on, Patrick. You've taken a D2C platform, repainted it and called it an adviser platform.’ 

“Yeah, well worked out. That's exactly what I did. The business wasn't built for advised business, and so it was slightly compromised. It was quite difficult to make the advice work.”

But at Novia, Mill is certain the same won’t be the case, confirming he and his team are “singularly focused on advisers”, free of having to run a complementary, consumer-faced platform.”

The platform has hired a new chief technology officer, Chris Bowles, who spent more than 10 years developing Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform before joining Wealth Club. “He knows platforms inside out,” said Mill.

The apps Novia intends to add to its platform include ones developed over at Wealthtime, another of AnaCap’s UK platform investments.

“Currently we use some apps from FinoComp. And we intend to use some developed at Wealthtime which will be integrated. Initially Wealthtime advisers won't really see any difference.

"But over time, they will see some technology upgrades, as we bring all the technology together.”

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com