M&G: We've invested heavily in platform transfers

M&G: We've invested heavily in platform transfers

M&G has thrown much of its investment this year behind transfers, making its adviser platform as easy to join as it is to leave, its group chief executive has said.

Rich Denning said the changes M&G has made to its platform this year are making a "tangible difference", after advisers reported a "drop off" in service levels earlier this year and criticised its reliance on wet signatures.

The FTSE 100 company launched a digital self-invested personal pension this year and integrated digital signatures.

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It is also in the process of launching an upgraded capital gains tax tool.

"We have invested heavily in transfers, focusing on money out as part of our commitment to make the platform as easy to leave as it is to join," said Denning.

"And we expanded the footprint of our face-to-face sales and support teams while our implementation and customer services teams now work hard and hand in hand to help new and existing firms.

"In 2022, we prioritised improving our platform’s service and support. It’s a multi-year programme but it's already making a tangible difference."

Fund house M&G bought Ascentric in May 2020, with clients having been migrated to Bravura.

Advisers said back in May the lack of full digitisation on the platform was frustrating and that they had seen a “real drop-off” in service levels since M&G took over. 

In response, M&G sent an email to advisers laying out a series of developments, which included "deep" back-office integration, cloud-based customer relationship management tools, and e-signature software.

While the first two platform updates were not given a time stamp, paperless transactions were to be in place by the end of this year.

"Stability is increasingly important given the economic outlook," said Denning.

"In 2023, we’ll invest in better service, deeper back-office integration, more digitisation, better reporting and continued upgrades to our modern robust platform through much talked about microservices.

"Underpinned by simple, transparent charging, we have been operating full platform service provider (white-label) models for years and I look forward to seeing if predictions about more advisers wanting to adopt this approach are true."

The platform also launched Prufund on the platform for advisers this year, its flagship advised-only multi-asset fund range.

This meant advisers could access the funds via a platform rather than product wrappers for the first time in the UK.

'Maybe some platform CEOs will have an epiphany'

Denning is of the view that some platform chief executives need to change tack when it comes to cash holding, a topic which has stirred much debate across the sector.

"In a year when interest rates soared from 0.25 to 3 per cent, many platforms, mostly private equity-owned, took most of the difference straight to their bottom lines," he said.

"If you’re a platform with £10bn assets under administration, forcing clients to hold 2 per cent in cash while paying zero interest, then £6mn on the bottom line is very attractive.