Aviva had a difficult start in life when initially exploring the platform market. Under the Norwich Union brand, the Lifetime platform experienced significant administration issues costing the firm millions of pounds and eventually closure of the platform to new business in 2007.
Fast-forward to today and advisers are dealing with a very different animal. Having given up trying to do administration and technology in-house, the platform now outsources admin to Citi and uses Bravura’s software to power the proposition.
Aviva has worked hard over the past four years to shake off its difficult history and is starting to see positive results from the advisers using it. Talking to advisers who used the platform over four years ago, it was common for the feedback to be pretty poor, sometimes even hostile.
Now we hear more firms starting to register this platform as a serious low-cost, simple alternative proposition for some customer segments. Recent comments from advisers are almost entirely positive and we expect to see Aviva continue to climb our User Leaderboard if it manages to maintain the goodwill of its users – no small task.
The group appears buoyant about the future too. According to research conducted by Aviva, it is expecting a surge in adviser assets coming on to platforms in the next three years, with 70 per cent of advisers set to move the majority of their assets on to platforms. Our own research and data certainly seems to concur with these findings.
Although £3.3bn is still very small for a firm of Aviva’s size, asset figures have tripled over 18 months and we suspect it will leapfrog other platforms with similar AUA should they maintain current momentum. Larger life company platforms should take note of the strategic developments and positioning which have worked well for the York-based firm.
Net sales are strong as a proportion of total sales – also an indicator of a platform in the ascendancy. The challenge will be maintaining service levels as the platform
PenLife IFA Tom Hughes
“It is simple to use. In comparison with our other platform, Standard Life, there is less keying in for quotes, for example. It also allows us to white-label the platform which is nice, particularly where people are accessing it via our website.
Life Planning Solutions paraplanner Tracy Simpson
“We find it very easy to use. We get good support from our BDM but sometimes if we have an issue and call to resolve a problem, we have to wait for a call back to get it sorted. Initially there was no CGT calculator but that was soon introduced.”
Holly Mackay is managing director at The Platforum