Standard Life could lose a third of Elevate assets

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Standard Life could lose as much as a third of Axa Elevate assets following its acquisition of the platform this month, experts predict.

Standard Life agreed a deal in May to acquire the £9bn Elevate platform for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will almost double Standard Life’s customer base, bringing more than 160,000 advised clients to the business, and raising total customers to 350,000.

The combined business will also hold assets under administration of £36.4bn and net asset inflows of £5.7bn in 2015. The provider has said it has not yet decided whether to merge the platforms, or run them in tandem.

Finalytiq founder Abraham Okunsanya says a 30 per cent loss of assets in the platform merger is “probably reasonable”.

He says: “It may seem high but it reflects what you might expect, for instance, in the event that Standard Life reviews Elevate’s pricing.

“If you also take into account that some advisers might make a decision not to place new money on Elevate until they get a clearer idea of what Standard Life is really going to do with it, then it’s reasonable to expect lower net inflow.”

Gbi2 managing director Graham Bentley adds: “I can see 30 per cent of the Elevate assets not wanting to go to the Standard Life platform, and thus being moved to a new platform other than Standard Life. Advisers chose Elevate in the first place for a reason.

“If I were Standard Life, when I was contemplating buying Elevate I would have factored in a conservative transfer figure to account for those advisers who prefer their platform to be other than Standard Life.”

Platforum research director Heather Hopkins says although 30 per cent seems to be “quite a big number”, she sees Standard Life Investments losing assets as a result of the deal.

Standard Life head of adviser and wealth manager propositions David Tiller says: “Standard Life has a very strong record in the advised platform market. We have spent time understanding the value advisers see in Elevate and believe the propositions complement each other.

“Elevate advisers have exhibited a high degree of loyalty to their platform provider, as we look to continue and enhance the service advisers receive, we believe the great majority will choose to stay.”