Royal London-owned platform Ascentric will start moving clients over to its upgraded system this weekend.
According to an email to advisers seen by New Model Adviser®, the platform will be closed this Saturday and Sunday in order to migrate clients, with the first clients appearing on the new platform on Monday 23 April.
However, it warned advisers they may not be able to access the platform on Monday and advised to plan for that eventuality.
‘We anticipate you’ll be able to get your hands on the new platform from mid-morning on Monday 23 April and will let you know as soon as it’s ready to use. And don’t worry, some advisers will already have given it the once over and tested some live cases.
‘There are inevitable risks associated with projects of this scale, so please be aware of the possibility that the platform may be unavailable on Monday 23 April.
‘We will of course be pulling out all the stops to stick to our launch plans and appreciate the inconvenience it may cause, should we need to close the business on this day. By giving you notice we hope that you can plan for the possibility that this may happen,’ Ascentric stated.
In the email Ascentric called this a ‘phased launch’ and a spokeswoman for the company said this approach was to minimise the risk of disruption.
‘We are taking a phased approach to our re-platforming to minimise the risk of disruption to advisers and we are nearing the implementation of the first phase,’ she said.
Ascentric is moving to a Bravura-powered platform from one that runs on proprietary technology. The project began in 2013, was originally scheduled to finish in 2015 and has cost the company more than expected.
In July last year Ascentric managing director, Jon Taylor, said Ascentric was not alone in this respect but said the project would prove value for money.
‘Is it more than we expected? Yes it is, but everybody is learning just how complex this is. There are lots of case studies out there to show as much,' he said.
‘This investment is not an outlier, especially considering what we are doing with our technology. It is possible to do it cheaper if you are just doing it for new business but we are migrating all advisers and clients over to the new system.
‘Given the complexity and sophistication of the solution we going to provide that looks like value for money.'
The overall platform cost has not been confirmed by Ascentric but Royal London financial statements show the parent company wrote down £44 million in 2016 and £31 million in 2017 in relation to the project.
Ascentric assets under administration increased 17% to £14.4 billion in 2017.
The platform also enjoyed a 22% increase in gross inflows from £2.3 billion in 2016 to £2.8 billion last year.
Amid some very drawn-out time-frames for platform technology projects there has been a relative flurry of project completions in 2018, with Aviva completing a move from OpenWealth technology, provided by Bravura, to FNZ technology in January.
The closure of the platform was extended because the work took longer than expected and clients and advisers experienced glitches for a number of weeks after.
Aegon also recently announced it would migrate the Cofunds retail book to a new, enhanced Aegon platform over the first bank holiday weekend in May.
Cofunds advisers will be able to use the platform up to 5pm on Friday 4 May before a three-day blackout when the migration will take place.