Standard Life has released details of the first programme of upgrades to its Elevate platform, which include simplifying processes for users and improving the discretionary management functionality.
The group is also looking to develop the platform's capital gains tax planning features and its cashflow modelling tool in addition to introducing ways to reduce paperwork for clients and their advisers.
Head of adviser and wealth manager propositions David Tiller (pictured) said: "We are seeing a number of platforms struggling to cope with the changing priorities of advisers. Legacy fund platforms, with their transactional nature, relegate the role of the adviser to that of mere execution rather than active ongoing plan management.
He added: "With advisers' focus having shifted to consolidation and decumulation, it is vital platforms help advisers to constantly review and reshape client plans as their needs evolve. Advisers and clients want a platform that will support them throughout retirement and Elevate will do just that."
While Elevate head of proposition Steve Owen decared "the features arms race is over" for platforms, Tiller went on to suggest any new add-ons "must actually be of use to advisers".
"We have seen platforms designing their plans around other platforms rather than what advisers need," he added.
Standard Life said it would release information on further upgrades as it embarks on a "six-month rolling programme of developments".
No 'costly' replatforming
The group, which is set to merge with Aberdeen Asset Management, has previously said Elevate would be profitable "in a few years" after it emerged it had budgeted £100m for the project, which included the £31m purchase of the platform.
In its results published in February, Standard Life admitted Elevate had been loss-making for a number of years and is still in the red now.
Standard Life has transfer service agreements in place with Axa, Elevate's previous owner, so not all of the remaining £69m in its reserves can go on technological upgrades.
Tiller said: "We have to make sure Elevate is supported by Standard Life systems - finance systems, desk-top systems, mobile technology - so all of that is in the [£100m] number that has been quoted."
In planning how to improve Elevate, Tiller stressed the group was also looking to avoid the "costly" re-platforming efforts others in the market have had to undertake.
"Many platforms are finding it difficult to support this without significant - and costly - technology upgrades," he said. "Elevate has always prioritised the delivery of a streamlined service for advisers serving clients in the run-up to and throughout retirement. This investment is about taking this to the next level."
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