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Parmenion to push strategy after ‘sitting on the side’ at Abrdn

Parmenion to push strategy after ‘sitting on the side’ at Abrdn
Martin Jennings, Parmenion's CEO

Parmenion’s chief executive has laid out the platform’s strategy for 2022 and beyond, which he said will focus on actioning requests made by customers that were difficult to implement under its previous owner.

Martin Jennings told FTAdviser Parmenion had “sat on the side” at Abrdn, but that under its new ownership it will be able to roll out features more quickly.

“Now outside of the group, [it] allows us to take a fresh look and action some of the things that our customers have been asking for a few years,” said Jennings.

In March 2021, Parmenion was sold by Abrdn to private equity firm Preservation Capital Partners and AssetCo in a £102mn deal. The former owns 70 per cent, whilst the latter owns the remaining 30 per cent.

“Standard Life Aberdeen [now named Abrdn] were great shareholders, but they own a much bigger business with a number of different assets within the estate,” Jennings explained.

“So your strategy always has to be mindful of the broader group strategy that sits within that structure. Since we’ve come outside of the Standard Life Group, we are unencumbered by somebody else's strategy. And that allows us now to focus on the things that our customers have been saying. 

“Standard Life Aberdeen had Standard Life Wrap, the Elevate proposition, whilst we were a DFM business sat on the side, not your platform business. Clearly, the group had objectives that it was trying to cover off.”

A year on from private equity backing, Jennings said the deal had provided oxygen for the business. “It’s not provided any constraints at all.”

Allaying advisers’ fears of change under the new ownership, Jennings said the firm’s new shareholders had bought into a strategy, and not come in to change the business, its operating model or structure.

“We’re not trying to push multiple platforms together. We’re not here trying to cut costs, replatform, merge, compete on price, or go head-to-head with outsource providers."

Strategy

The strategy is threefold: to grow investment choice, expand retirement options, and to look at ways to make better use of data.

“We won't try to be all things to all people. We're not here to ‘out-wrap’ the wraps,” said Jennings. 

The primary way Parmenion intends to expand its investment options is through partnerships.

Earlier this month, the company launched its ‘Affinity’ partnership programme to provide more DFM service options to advisers.

As a DFM-turned-platform business, Jennings also recognised the need to expand products around retirement - mainly its post-retirement division, by enhancing drawdown.

“2022 will see us improve our post-retirement proposition,” said the CEO.

On data, Parmenion has already extended its data warehousing and reporting, which included its launch of Vantage last year.

But Jennings said the next stage would be “looking at new ways to share data”, utilising its ownership of the technology, investment product and running its own custody service.