After a couple of months of speculation, M&G has reached an agreement with Royal London to purchase its platform, Ascentric. The deal, subject to FCA approval, brings £14bn of assets and over 90,000 clients to the M&G, in what seemed at first like an oddly timed move.
It’s beginning to look like a trend. First we had the tiny Aegon platform making a play for the massive Cofunds platform, and last week it was announced that Interactive Investor is to buy TD Direct, TD Bank’s European direct business.
When RDR became reality and the advice gap widened, it was only a question of time before a FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) or a traditional supermarket chain like Tesco, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s disrupted the financial services market with their client knowledge and big data.
So Standard Life is buying Axa's Elevate platform. Howe exciting! All we need now is for Aegon to confirm that it's buying Cofunds and that will be industry consolidation sorted for a little while. A tie-up between the two makes sense. Standard Life has big ambitions and the Axa group had made clear that it wanted out. It makes sense for Elevate to move to a parent that wants it and has a long-term stake in the industry.