A platform to make your life and business easier

3 min read 16 Jan 23

2022 was a foundational year for M&G Wealth Platform, with good progress on optimising the service and functionality that we know you most value from your platform provider. Everything we do is designed  to make all your day-to-day platform activities easier, faster and frictionless.

From fully digitising new business processes to speeding up the time it takes to transfer money off and on platform, to using state-of-the-art telephony and CRM systems.

And we’ve supported that technological and process improvement with more people too, quadrupling our Platform Adoption Team and maintaining one of the biggest teams of Business Development Managers in the UK.

Last month I gave a progress report on how we’ve been investing to support you and your clients. Now I want to give a quick high-level view of our key goals for 2023.

Delivering a 5-star platform

At the end of 2022, we were delighted our platform won 5 stars at the FT Adviser Service Awards. This reflects the efforts we’ve made to listen to what advisers want and do what we can to make it as easy as possible to do business with us.

In 2023, we’re committed to maintaining that five-star ranking. Although we don’t chase awards, we’re keen to be among the top five platforms when it comes to respected industry surveys by Lang Cat, Platforum and others on factors such as service, reliability, cost and reporting.

This year we’ll be doing all we can to make that happen – supported by greater digitisation, back office system integration and ongoing investment in our people.

Providing more ways to navigate market volatility

We understand that many advisers and their clients want clear and straightforward investment solutions that can help navigate market volatility.

That’s why last year, we introduced PruFund Planet,  to M&G Wealth Platform. This year, we will add PruFund Growth and PruFund Cautious. You’ll be able to put these funds in wrappers such as SIPPs and ISAs. You’ll also be able to combine them with the full range of investments available on platform.

This will provide even greater scope to build solutions aligned with a clients’ specific risk profile (including both at accumulation or decumulation stages for pensions). And such solutions will hopefully give clients more confidence to stay invested in the market, even in today’s challenging times.

Take the client journey digital

Taking the new business journey for you and your clients completely online has been one of the biggest priorities for us – and something we’ll continue to expand on in 2023.

This month sees the launch of our ‘digital new business journey’, which you can read about in the Q&A with Gavin Hughes.  We are following that up with ‘Quote and apply’ later this year.

A wholly online journey will transform the speed, efficiency and accuracy of setting up new client business.  Money can be invested where it needs to be faster than ever. Transferring assets such as pensions on platform can now take minutes, rather than days or weeks. And with the need for zero paperwork (except in a few instances – for example, if a client prefers to use paper), it can help us all support more planet-friendly ways of working.

Most of all, by capturing essential client information digitally on platform at the outset of the relationship, we can help you service every client better throughout their financial-planning journey. Helping your own proposition be the best it can.

Keep the human element

I mentioned above how we’ve invested in the teams that support advisers. I think it’s important to stress again how committed we are to backing up technical excellence with great people.

Whether it’s understanding how we can help your business grow, exploring how you can get the most out of the platform or gauging your reaction when we put something out in the market, we think there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction – be that in person or online.

That’s why we provide named contacts for both initial platform adoption and ongoing business development.

And that direct contact goes all the way up to senior management. Because I view supporting advisers as much a part of my job as it is for the rest of the M&G Wealth Platform team.

Understand what Consumer Duty really means (for you and us)

I couldn’t do a piece on what’s coming up in 2023 without mentioning Consumer Duty.

My honest opinion is there are still a lot of questions as to what’s expected both of platforms and advisers. So right now, our goal is ensuring that M&G Wealth Platform is compliant by the July deadline in terms of delivering the baseline documentation and information disclosure that advisers need from us.

Then we need to work with the regulator – and with you – to determine what Consumer Duty means for all of us in the long term.  However, we are confident that our simple pricing structure and proposition can play a key role in enabling advisers to demonstrate choice and value for money, alongside the other Consumer Duty outcomes.

Maintain platform stability

The last two years have been some of the busiest on record for corporate activity in the platform market. 2023 looks no different, with a number of big names being put up for sale – especially as private equity owners look for an exit.

Advisers can be forgiven for wondering if their chosen platform is really committed to the market. Which is why we’re keen to stress that M&G Wealth Platform is here to stay.

We’re backed by a 175-year-old insurance and a FTSE 100 global asset manager. That provides us with a level of financial strength, stability and long-term commitment that few other platforms can match.

Plus, we’re completing the bulk of our core investment in the platform this year and replatformed three years ago. So although it will continue to evolve and see further enhancements, you can be pretty confident that the fundamentals of the reliable platform you see now will be the ones in place in five to 10 years.

…and incremental enhancement

There’s much more in the pipeline, including our plans for ongoing Digital improvements, to create the client experience you want, our first foray into using microservices to deliver a best-of-breed capital gains and loss tool.

Further change will be delivered incrementally, meaning more small but frequent enhancements that are intuitive and don’t need intensive adviser training and support.

And everything we deliver will be features and enhancements that you say can help you deliver great service and good client outcomes. Our commitment is to giving you what you need, not bells and whistles you don’t.

Here to help in challenging times

Right now, we’re mindful that a fragile global economy and low levels of investor confidence are the big challenges for advisers. Keeping clients happy during volatile markets, double-digit inflation and an ongoing cost-of-living crisis is a daunting task.

We hope that a reliable, responsive platform that’s backed by efficient tech, committed people – and that’s focused on delivering real value for money – can make your job a little easier.