M&G is preparing to switch Ascentric from its old Royal London servers to its own. Since acquiring Ascentric in May 2020, the server switch represents a significant step in the technological integration of the platforms.
Fortunately, Royal London and M&G both use the same technology, Bravura, making a smooth transition more likely. M&G bosses hope for an “invisible” server switch that does not affect their advisers.
Justin Blower, sales director at M&G, who moved over with Ascentric in 2020, spoke about the server switch:
“When we do the server migration later this month, we’re actually going to get some advisers in working with us over the weekend,” he explained,
“They’ll look at how some of those key processes are working. Does it work the way they expect it to work? If it doesn’t, we have an opportunity to reverse it.”
When asked what the Ascentric team learnt from the migration, Blower commented: “The big one for me was around engaging users early in the process.”
He continued: “When we were developing the platform, looking at what the functionality would be and how it should work, if we were changing the scope [of the platform] we probably didn’t engage advisers as much as we should have done.
“Because there were some surprises after we changed technology providers. So bringing them [advisers] on the journey was a really big learning.
“Whilst we did lots of communication around it, bringing advisers into the camp would have been a much better outcome for us.”
Currently, M&G Wealth employs 500 advisers. Over the next few years, the advice firm hopes to double these numbers through a combination of recruitment and acquisition.
M&G plans to re-launch Ascentric under its own brand in 2022. Despite the upcoming changes to Ascentric’s technology, products and branding, it will remain independent, with advisers able to choose whether or not to use the re-launched platform.
“Advisers want to be listened to,” said Mr Blower. “It’s about understanding how their business operates, understanding what their clients want. Our job is about making advisers look good in front of their clients. That’s the key mantra I use quite often.”
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