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Aviva: ‘Succession advisers will decide platform fate’

Aviva: ‘Succession advisers will decide platform fate’
Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Aviva’s platform boss has said it will be Succession’s advisers who decide their own platform fate, following the provider’s £385mn acquisition of the advice firm earlier this month.

On the day of the deal (March 2), FTAdviser spoke to Doug Brown, chief executive officer of UK & Ireland Life at Aviva, who said ‘discussions will be had’ later down the line - suggesting a platform migration of Succession’s advisers to the Aviva platform could be on the horizon.

But since then, Mike Hogg, Aviva’s strategic platforms director, has confirmed it will be Succession’s advisers - not Aviva - that decide which platforms their clients end up on.

Currently, Succession has a panel of platforms it works with which includes an in-house white-label version of Ascentric, now owned by M&G. At present, Aviva is not on Succession’s platform panel.

“What we need to emphasise is it's [Succession] an independent financial advice model. Ultimately, I think the advisers will decide,” Hogg told FTAdviser.

“Advisers will decide if they like what we have to offer, and if they do they will choose it. And the other platforms [on the platform], if that's what is right for the customer and the IFAs want to keep using them, they can continue to do that as well. It's not for us to set that out really.”

Roger Marsden, Aviva’s retail director, added that the product provider is wary of doing anything which could “bring on any kind of tissue rejection”.

“We bought it because of the business it is. The last thing we want to do is go in and undermine the capabilities that [it] brings.”

When Aviva started out with its platform, ‘Aviva Adviser’, it was a “filler” or a “second platform”, according to Marsden. Post-migration from Bravura to FNZ One, him and Hogg came onboard from Aviva’s retirement business and Abrdn respectively, to oversee remediation of the platform after a series of glitches proceeded its replatforming in January 2018.

Since then, Marsden claims he and Hogg have grown Aviva Adviser into a front-runner in the advised platform market.

“We have a lot [of advisers] who have been there [on Aviva’s platform] for a very long time,” said Marsden. “They’ve been continuous supporters. Others we’ve switched back on again since the migration issues. But we are attracting an awful lot of new advice firms to use the platform now as well.”

He continued: “Historically, if we go back five years ago, we were very much entering into the market, trying to be a filler, to be people’s second platform. We're not there anymore. We are very much aiming to be the primary platform for a large proportion of the market.”

On a weekly basis, Marsden said Aviva has “25 or so” IFA firms putting “over a million on”, with an “awful lot” of these being new users.