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Axa Wealth put up for sale

Kellard Mike Axa Wealth 700x450

Axa has put its wealth management business Axa Wealth up for sale, Money Marketing understands.

The French insurer is believed to be searching for a buyer for the UK wealth division, which includes the Elevate platform, Sipps, onshore bonds, corporate pensions and its investment arm Architas.

Sources say Barclays has been appointed by Axa to handle the sale on its behalf, while corporate advisory firms are currently pitching to represent private equity firms interested in buying.

An insider says: “There are lots of people out there looking at buying part of the business or the whole thing.”

A spokesman for Axa says: “We do not comment on market speculation.”

Platform research director Heather Hopkins says: “Elevate is much maligned by competitors as lacking direction and has a reputation for being difficult to work with.

“However, Platforum adviser reviews and AUA data suggest the firm is turning things around after a difficult 2014. The adviser platform outperformed competitors in AUA growth in Q1 and Q2. AXA has always been strong on pensions and so is a beneficiary of the pension reforms.”

Platforum data shows assets under administration grew 20.6 per cent, or £1.72bn, year-on-year to June. However, this is slower than the platform market as whole, which grew 33 per cent overall.

Axa Wealth’s half year results, published in August, show Elevate saw a 20 per cent rise in assets to £10bn in the first half of the year, with £1.1bn in inflows in that period driven by the pension freedoms.

The platform hit the £10bn assets mark in May, following record new money taken into the platform in March.

Total Axa Wealth funds under management grew 13 per cent to £29.1bn, up from £25.7bn last year.

In 2010, Axa sold its UK life and pensions business Friends Provident to Resolution in a £2.75bn deal. Friends Provident became Friends Life, which was in turn sold to Aviva in April this year.



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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. This news will be quite unsettling for advisers and firms using Axa for their clients!

  2. Heather Hopkins 27th August 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Indeed – Cofunds and now AXA. We are hearing praise for platforms that are viewed as having stable ownership in reviews from advisers.

  3. This is what happens when you have a life office running a platform. Cofunds was great before L&G got involved and really messed them up. Hopefully now they will be independent of a life office. Perhaps thy could merge with AXA Wealth? Which life office will be next to abandon their platform. Aviva – for the second time!?

    The most robust platform has been Skandia – now Old Mutual. They were arguably the first. In my opinion they did it the other way around. They were and are a platform first and foremost that dabbled in life assurance.

    • Well said Harry, it’s not all about percentage points on charges, Old Mutual’s may not be the broadest platform but its still there and I wager there will be more to follow suit in time.

  4. @Harry – Skandia were ahead of the game in 1998 when I first used them, but the functionality was nowhere near as good when we migrated to using Transact. I have shied away from using insurance providers who keep suspending or selling themselves and causing admin problems as a result.

  5. Phil

    1998?? I started using Skandia in the 1980’s – they offered the widest choice of bonds even then. Thank you Paul Bradshaw.

    Yes they might not be the snappiest – but they are absolutely unbeatable for service (in my experience). They are available on the ‘phone, they take charge of the problem and they keep their promises. they also have what was a market leading technical department – which is now unique. You can actually ring up and speak to someone!

    In these respects other platforms have a long way to go.

  6. Always preferred Skandia (stupid changing name to Old Mut by the way). Have used Elevate and it is far better than it was. Has the advantage of allowing investments other than collectives, although Skandia are apparently going to offer this as well. Agree with the CoFunds comments. L&G will make a mess of anything they touch and think that Suffolk Life’s service has detiorated since the take over.

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