Quilter cuts face-to-face advice support team by 42%

Quilter cuts face-to-face advice support team by 42%

Quilter has nearly halved its team which supports advisers with face-to-face visits, cutting it from 21 to 12 as part of a wider reorganisation of its sales distribution team to gear it towards a hybrid model.

The wealth manager told FTAdviser it wanted to reduce the number of consultants travelling door-to-door to advisers in favour of a hybrid ‘hub model’ it says has been green lit by advisers.

But the company has said advisers using its platform should still have face-to-face support where they had it before.

Those nine consultants cut from the face-to-face adviser team, who were informed this week of the changes, will be offered other jobs across the business. Quilter currently has some 100 vacancies across the entire group.

Those who do not find a suitable role will be made redundant. 

Quitler’s sales distribution team consists of 114 people today, but it has plans to grow the team to 120.

Sales distribution boss Karen Blatchford said there was a new focus on growing sales support, platform specialist and telephone consultant roles, rather than face-to-face-only roles.

She said that before the reorganisation, face-to-face consultants were only meeting two advisers a day.

The reorganisation has also brought together a previously “fragmented” platform specialists team, according to Blatchford.

This team - which includes experts in particular topics such as tax and pensions - now stands at 17.

The idea is for other support roles to make it easier for those existing face-to-face consultants to see more advisers each day and cut down on administrative support.

Since Quilter’s replatforming, the firm has moved to a regional hub model as a different way to support advisers. It has 11 regional hubs at present.

“A lot of advisers are now working remotely,” said Blatchford. “This didn’t evolve out of cost-cutting, it evolved out of being more effective to support advisers.

She added that advisers using Quilter’s platform should still have face-to-face support where they had it before.

Quilter said it briefed a handful of advisers prior to making the cuts to gauge appetite. “IFAs think it’s the right thing to do,” said Blatchford.

“We’re not expecting to make many redundancies at all…We think these changes are exciting and what advisers want.” 

In Quilter’s full-year results in March 2022, the company announced a ‘business simplification programme’ which was anticipated to reduce operating costs by around £45mn by the end of 2024 on a run-rate basis. 

The programme, the firm said, will focus on the decommissioning of its legacy IT estate, efficiencies and automation in operational areas, as well as on simplification of Quilter’s structures.

Quilter said this cost-cutting exercise was “more macro” than the changes to Blatchford’s team.

The company stressed that the distribution reorganisation is in reaction to ways of working, with an overall headcount increase.

“But obviously we’re always looking at how we can work as efficiently as possible as a listed business,” a spokesperson added.