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Aviva guns for national advice coverage by end of year

Aviva eyes further adviser hires as it looks to bolster its new advice business across the UK

Aviva-signage-building-2013-700.jpgAviva expects to have national coverage from its restricted advice arm by the end of the year.

Speaking after the publication of its first half results today, workplace managing director Andy Curran says the advice business now has 33 operational advisers and a further 20 in training.

Aviva announced plans to restart a restricted face-to-face advice business in July last year, three years after it cut its 120-strong team of advisers.

In May it told Money Marketing it had recruited 47 advisers to its restricted advice arm – a cumulative figure for those already working and those in training.

Curran says: “We have reasonably good coverage in Southern England and the Midlands and we are expecting to have full national coverage by the end of the year.”

Curran says that Aviva does not plan to buy existing advice firms. He adds that the business does not have a target for the number of advisers it needs.

He says: “We would expect our adviser numbers to grow from where they are now and that would be a requirement to get to national coverage. We will have to see as the picture evolves, there are a number of things in the mix here – the development of other ways of picking up advice or educational information for the consumer. There are various things we need to think about as we build our capability.”

In May, Aviva UK chief executive Andy Briggs told the Financial Times the provider was exploring whether or not it would make sense to offer defined benefit pension transfer advice.

Curran says this is not currently in the provider’s plans.

He adds: “Clearly [DB transfers] is an active market at the moment. We are continuing to monitor the situation but as it is we will not offer DB to DC transfer advice.”

Platform losses

Aviva reported £3bn net inflows to its UK platform in the six-month period reaching £16.4bn at 30 June from £12.9bn at 1 January.

However, the results show its savings platforms – which include the advised and direct-to-consumer platforms as well as Sesame – reported a loss as they continue to “grow to scale”.

Aviva UK chief financial officer Jason Windsor says the losses are largely attributable to marketing spend for the D2C platform, which is a relatively new business.

Windsor says: “The adviser platform is trading very well and has been adding a lot of assets; it is up to about £16bn and has broken even. That is not contributing significantly to those losses and henceforth will be profitable.”

Aviva is currently switching technology providers on its adviser platform to FNZ.

Consultancy Finalytiq previously estimated Aviva would spend around £35m on its shift from Bravura to FNZ, while Aviva itself previously said it expects to spend in the “low tens of millions”.

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