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Standard Life to make advice tech available to all IFAs

Standard Life to make advice tech available to all IFAs

Standard Life Aberdeen has said it will make the adviser technology it is working on with the Financial Conduct Authority available to the wider advice market.

The company's advice arm, 1825, is currently taking part in the latest cohort of the FCA's regulatory sandbox, which allows firms to test innovative products and systems in a live market environment without facing regulatory repercussions.

Barry O'Dwyer, chief executive of Standard Life, said the process was part of the company's plans to grow 1825 and it is currently testing how much of the advice "journey" can be digitised safely.

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He said: "Let's say we are going for five, 10 or even 20 times more productive. We have to figure out the parts of the advice process that consumers are keen to digitise, and there are parts of the process which are very cumbersome from a consumer's perspective and from an adviser's as well.

"There are different models we can employ and we are testing what is the most efficient way.

"We are also keen to see how we can deploy this into the IFA market. We have not decided exactly how that is going to work and to some extent it depends on the results of the research and development."

He said Standard Life could make the technology available through its platforms - Wrap, Elevate and Parmenion - and give advisers the option of using it or not.

Mr O'Dwyer said the development of this technology, which was costing Standard Life "millions", was part of the company's plans to grow 1825, which posted a £1m loss in Standard Life Aberdeen's recent results.

He said: "1825 is in the early stages of its development and we are taking a very long term view. We are in the advice business because we expect the demand for advice to explode over the next 10 years.

"Like other businesses, it seeks to make money but we are not desperate to grow its profits extremely quickly. We want to build a nationwide business of advisers.

"The vision ultimately is that it is a combination of digital, telephony and face-to-face advice but if you try and start with digital it doesn't work. Clients want access to a person."

1825's assets under advice increased increased to £4.3bn during the first half of 2018, compared to £3.6bn in the same period last year.

damian.fantato@ft.com