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Quilter soft launches new platform with staff money

Six years from the beginning of its replatforming project, Quilter has soft launched its new platform today.

Quilter, then-called Skandia, made the first steps into its replatforming project in 2013 with technology company IFDS.

The contract between Quilter, which then became Old Mutual Wealth, and IFDS was scrapped in 2017 and FNZ was brought in as the new technology provider for the project.

Quilter platform marketing boss Jeremy Mugridge (pictured) says having seen the challenges faced by rival platforms going through similar projects, the firm is going into this stage with eyes wide open.

He says: “We don’t go in to this with any sense of arrogance or complacency. We understand how important this is for advisers, businesses and their customers, we are doing everything in our power to go about this in the right way.”

Today “tens” of Quilter staff will start using the platform as clients to ensure the functionality performs as it has done in testing.

At the beginning of the FNZ contract Quilter told the market: “We expect an enhanced customer and adviser proposition supplied by FNZ to be operational for new business by late 2018/early 2019 with migration to follow swiftly thereafter.”

Mugridge says the company is happy the project is on time and on budget.

Quliter had spent £330m on the project by the time it switched tech providers in 2017 and said it would spend no more than £450m in total.

Staff of the company will be adding new money to pensions among some 30 scenarios to verify the platform’s functionality.

Although the soft launch phase includes the majority of functionality needed for the full project, some is still being developed and tested and is not yet ready to be used “live”, according to Mugridge.

He is unable to give a date when advisers would be able to use the platform because he says it depends on how the soft launch stage goes, but Quilter would not rushing at the expense of quality.

Mugridge says: “Looking at similar projects to this, this is all about quality to us. We are happy to pull a couple of levers, that is cost and time. We are not happy to pull the quality lever.

“That is why we are doing this in a phased and controlled manner. We have a duty of care to financial advisers and their customers.”

Quilter chief executive Paul Feeney says: “I am pleased that we have reached our soft launch phase which is an important milestone. The high quality delivery of this programme remains of utmost importance to us and we continue to prepare detailed migration plans to ensure customers and advisers remain well supported throughout the transition period.”

A further update on the project will be published with the company’s full year results.

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