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Axa poised for platform

Axa is launching a wrap platform in the first quarter of 2008.

The company denies that its entrance into the platform market comes too late, saying the market is still small and the opportunities in the coming years will be massive. Axa expects wrap to be a 250bn market by 2009.

Managing director of distribution services Paul McMahon says: “It is later than others but the market is very small and maturing. I do not believe it is late in the game. Our timing has been considered and deliberate. It is a relatively small marketplace with a great deal of potential.

“It is going to be a much, much bigger market, perhaps 250bn by 2009-10. Some would even speculate that it will get much bigger than that.”

Axa says it sees a wrap platform capability as a turnkey element of change necessary to improving efficiency and transparency and helping adviser businesses grow.

McMahon says Axa is working closely with its distribution arm, Thinc Group, to ensure the wrap meets adviser requirements.

He says: “They are an independently run business and have the same market quality thresholds to satisfy as any other business.”

Marketing director Martin Jennings says advisers should not expect to see a fanfare launch of the platform, which has been in development for the past 18 months. Roll-out will take place in a phased approach throughout 2008. He says: “We need to be listening to our launch partners and advisers and watching the competition to bring the right components to market at the right time.”

He says he believes that while much of the attention around wrap has focused on the high-net-worth sector, he believes that many more client groups can benefit.

Jennings says: “Traditionally, people have looked on the platform as being for the high net worth and top end but it also opens up other opportunities . You will see us feature in different sectors in the market. I do not see us focusing on one particular niche.”

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