The second phase of Quilter's platform migration is facing delays and increased costs as the advice giant battles to navigate the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a trading statement to the market this morning (April 21) Quilter confirmed it was continuing to prepare for the second phase of its long-awaited platform migration, which is due by the end of summer 2020, but warned the Covid-19 outbreak threatened the current timeline.
Quilter also pointed to the national lockdown placing pressure on advisers' "readiness plans, training programmes and dress rehearsals" ahead of the anticipated final migration date.
The company said: "The group’s objective with the platform transformation programme is to ensure a smooth and safe platform transition, with timing scheduled to reduce disruption for advisers and customers.
"Covid-19 makes the feasibility of achieving that outcome on the current timeline more uncertain.
"Quilter’s priority remains to complete the programme as quickly as possible while maintaining a low risk tolerance – achieving this may require extended timelines and, potentially, a review of the migration phasing."
In February Quilter completed a first migration of 100 advisers to its new platform, accounting for about 10 per cent of assets.
The journey to re-platforming has been long and costly for Quilter. The company has spent about £360m on the project since it began in 2014.
In May 2017, the company replaced IFDS as the technology provider on the project and hired FNZ. At that time it said it had spent £200m on the project.
In March chief executive Paul Feeney told FTAdviser the company still had £49m of its remaining £185m budget to spend on the FNZ migration.
In today's update the advice giant said it was planning for a range of scenarios given the "uncertainties" created by the pandemic, but anticipated any changes in timing and costs would not be "material in a group context".
Quilter also reported the later weeks of this year's first quarter, against a "backdrop of high market volatility", had seen transfers out of its UK platform to competitors reduce "significantly" as transfers in remained steady.
The company said: "Feedback from advisers indicates that this was due to Quilter’s higher level of business continuity and adviser support relative to some peers."
Quilter said it would update the market about any changes to its replatforming timeline no later than its interim results in August.
What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on email@example.com to let us know.