Royal London is prepared to listen to offers for its adviser platform Ascentric.
A spokesperson from Ascentric confirmed that the platform is exploring ways to improve is strategy. "As you would expect, we're exploring a number of options to help inform our future strategy," they said. No further details were provided by Royal London.
In March 2019, Ascentric revealed it had spent more than £100m on its long-term re-platforming project over the course of the previous three years. However, in May, the new platform offered up some hurdles for advisers as some users complained about the client reporting functions and others reported extended waiting times with the call centre. It also had to delay some of its re-platforming migrations.
NextWealth managing director and founder Heather Hopkins said she feels for Ascentric: "They've just come out of a difficult time and seemed to have the wind in their sails again. This news will fuel uncertainty over the platform's future. I have no doubt they will find a good buyer."
She added: "The Ascentric platform has strong investment capability and a strong technology at its core."
Meanwhile, the lang cat founder and boss man Mark Polson said it was a surprise to him to hear the news: "Ascentric has had a difficult period, a very difficult re-platforming that went on for a long time, but it's starting to come out [of] the woods now and we're starting to see green shoots."
He said there is still "more to do" but advisers are certainly finding the "corner has been turned" and that is a good thing. "If it's the case that Royal London feel that they don't want to own a platform business anymore, then I can understand that."
Ascentric was not the first re-platformer to struggle with its re-platforming and call centre waiting times. For example, three months after Aegon transferred Cofunds clients to its newly-built platform, the firm said there was still work to be done to improve contact centre waiting times for advisers.
In January, Quilter's Old Mutual Wealth platform revealed the date for the first phase of its re-platforming to its new FNZ-powered technology. The migration will commence on the weekend of 22 February, which will see 100 advisers using the new platform by 24 February.
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