The head of newly-formed Axa Wealth says its Elevate platform will hit the profitability mark of £7bn AUM within three years and emerge victorious from the current "platform battle".
Speaking after Axa completed the sale of its traditional life and pensions business to Resolution for £2.75bn, Axa Wealth chief executive Mike Kellard says the trimmed-down company will now focus on its multi-manager offering Architas and Elevate platform.
"In three years time, we will be one of the winners in the platform battle," he says. "We are looking to break through the profitability point of £7bn by 2013 and hopefully before then."
The platform currently has over £1bn in AUM with around 800 adviser firms signed up.
Kellard thinks the future platform market will be dominated by five players consisting of three large providers - including Elevate - along with two niche outfits.
Elevate will now concentrate on attracting new IFAs to its dual-priced, whole-of market offering, with Kellard looking to grow business volumes 10% by next year.
He says two new adviser firms join the platform each day - a growth trend he attributes, in part, to an expansion in the company's consultancy services and reduction in its sales force.
With the FSA set to bring in new, more stringent, capital adequacy requirements, Kellard says Axa's financial muscle will keep its platform well above solvency margins and allow for significant investment.
"The platform will require ongoing developments and we will invest in it a lot over the next couple of years," he says.
One aspect of this development will see a widening of its white label services.
"We will create functionality allowing IFAs to market their client base," adds Kellard. "We want to help advisers."
Having offloaded its protection, corporate benefits and annuities arms, newly-streamlined Axa UK is geared towards seeking fresh business. Kellard welcomes the new direction, having previously headed up Axa Wealth's pensions and investment business Winterthur.
"When I was running Winterthur, I was spending around 60-70% of my time on closed book business which was a burden."
Meanwhile, MD of Axa Global distributors Michael Gregg said Axa will begin offering variable annuities by the fourth quarter. A product is currently undergoing testing with selected IFAs.
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