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Platforms keep faith in FNZ despite Aviva's problems

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Platforms keep faith in FNZ despite Aviva's problems

Platforms have restated their faith in technology provider FNZ, despite a series of problems surrounding Aviva's move to technology provided by the company.  

Aviva switched from OpenWealth technology, provided by Bravura, to FNZ technology in January. 

Even after a five day closure of the platform was extended to complete work, advisers have reported problems including late income payments and being unable to look at client valuations. 

The issues reached such a point that Aviva UK chief executive Andy Briggs apologised earlier this month to IFAs for the ‘inconvenience and frustration’ suffered as a result of the move to FNZ technology.

However the problems have not led other platforms committed to FNZ to reconsider their arrangements. 

Old Mutual Wealth, which last year abandoned a £330 million replatforming project with IFDS in favour of an agreement with FNZ, stated its commitment to the contract. 

‘While every programme will bring its own challenges, this provides further useful experience for FNZ of large scale migration projects. We remain confident in FNZ’s migration abilities,’ said head of platform proposition Jeremy Mugridge.

Standard Life Aberdeen's Elevate and Wrap platforms both use FNZ technology. A spokeswoman for Standard Life said it would not review its deal with FNZ in light of the recent issues. 

'Standard Life’s platforms are separate instances of the FNZ technology, with Standard Life Wrap pulling on Standard Life systems for aspects of its capability. We continually implement enhancements to platform technology, with successful developments such as our investment hub capability pulling on the latest technology developed in partnership with FNZ.

'This incremental approach to enhancement is designed to prevent a situation where a wholesale migration to an entirely new technical infrastructure would be required. That continues to be our approach and we will continue to invest in future developments.' 

One recent platform launch with FNZ which seems to have gone without any major glitches was Embark's. The business launched an investment platform powered by FNZ last November and chief executive Phil Smith said he has encountered ‘absolutely no issues with the FNZ technology’.

'Wrap/trading platforms are complex things and take time, energy and patience to become fully effective. FNZ are the go-to choice in the market, which brings with it inevitable growth pains, as it would with anyone. We started working with FNZ in 2014 and remain very happy with our choice of partner,’ he added.

Zurich, which also sits on FNZ, said the firm was confident our platform is powered by the best technology for supporting advisers’.

Santander launched a direct-to-consumer platform with FNZ in 2016 while Barclays Stockbrokers launched an FNZ platform, Smart Investor, last year. This launch was also beset by complaints over issues clients faced.

Barclays declined to comment and Santander did not reply.

The problems

Last week New Model Adviser® revealed that Aviva had agreed to pay clients' income via a bank transfer due to issues created by the switch to FNZ technology. 

One adviser New Model Adviser® spoke to said he has been unable to see client valuations over the past couple of weeks, which he said was particularly frustrating given recent market volatility. This issue was fixed on Monday. 

IFAs have also complained of very long wait times on the phone to Aviva, some for as long as an hour.

When asked what was causing the problems with the platform switch an Aviva spokeswoman said: ‘There are a number of factors contributing towards the issues that advisers are experiencing. We are resolving issues as quickly as possible as we appreciate the impact this is having on advisers and their clients.’ 

An FNZ spokesman said the firm’s policy is ‘not to comment on issues impacting our customers or on specific customer projects’.

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