Lloyds Banking Group is in the process of building a new system so advisers can access the bank’s protection products more easily.
Speaking to FTAdviser, Lloyd’s protection director Rose St Louis said the bank has poured “significant investment” into building the new architecture in an effort to improve its intermediary journey.
She labelled the bank’s current system “clunky” and in need of a revamp. The new system is expected to go live sometime next year.
In February, Lloyds said it wanted to be a top three protection provider in the UK by 2025. This strategy included the acquisition of hybrid protection advice firm Cavendish Online earlier this month, but St Louis said the bank is by no means taking an “out-and-out acquisition” approach.
“We've got significant investment to improve our intermediated journey across Scottish Widows Protect products,” St Louis explained.
“We're building new architecture to be rolled out to the intermediated space. 80 per cent of our business is intermediated. What we want to do is have a better journey, so intermediaries can hop in and have a really great, straight-through experience.
“It's a bit clunky, a bit sticky, and less user friendly [right now]. So it's a big overhaul. We've seen a lot of manufacturers improve and upgrade their tech, and that's exactly what we're doing.”
As an extension of intermediaries’ businesses, St Louis said whenever an application comes in clients are extending their vision through the manufacturer. “If we’re not giving them a great journey, that doesn't reflect well on them [the intermediary],” she explained.
The bank has been in talks with a number of advisers to review the current system, to understand what can improve, stay the same, and be learnt from other protection providers in the market.
“The build is in the ideation phase at the moment,” said St Louis. “As we get further into the year, we'll start doing some testing.”
St Louis said the bank also intends to “enhance” the eight products under the Scottish Widows Protect to ensure intermediaries’ current customers are also looked after.
Cavendish deal ‘makes us more relevant’
Lloyds’ acquisition of Cavendish Online pricked the ears of many in the industry. The firm is a hybrid advice business, offering direct-to-consumer, guided and advised life insurance, critical illness and income protection services.
The bank intends for the advice business to remain a separate company. “We want them to do their own thing,” said St Louis. But Lloyds also wants to bring Cavendish into its retail business.
“It will have two strings to its bow. It’ll be the same machine, but one will point to the IFA market, and one to our banking brand,” she explained. “We want to be meaningful and relevant to customers."
The bank is keen to support whichever way people want to buy protection - ie, advised or non-advised.