General Insurance Article - AXA Wealth to invest in platform and brand

AXA Wealth to invest in platform and brand as it plans final separation of legacy book

 AXA Wealth is set to transform its overall customer experience, with an investment focus on platform and a new visual identity, as it reaches the final stages of the legal separation of its legacy book.

 AXA Wealth acknowledges that much on offer for IFAs from the industry needs to be improved if platforms are to be at the heart of an adviser offering post-RDR. Over the next period, therefore, AXA Wealth plans to make a significant investment in its platform strategy, which has already seen funds under management grow from £15bn (H1 2010) to £19bn (H2 2011), with a target of £45bn by 2015.

 While many other providers are taking out adverts and issuing press releases saying they will be 'RDR-ready' with explicit charging structures being built in time for the end of next year, AXA Wealth has the advantage of having built both bundled and explicit charging structures that are in the market now. This means AXA Wealth can direct resource and focus its investment on the creation of a new user interface that is designed to be intuitive, simple and ‘retail-friendly'. The new user interface, as part of a major programme to enhance the overall customer experience, is expected to be available by Q4 2012.

 Mike Kellard, CEO, AXA Wealth, says: "The focus so far has been to develop Elevate into a comprehensive online business solution for advisers, with rich and ‘RDR-ready' capability. With this single-minded focus AXA Wealth now has one of the fastest growing platforms, a very loyal following amongst advisers, and is one of the few wraps that currently offers pre-funding and both explicit and composite pricing. But we need to do more.

 "In its next phase of development we aim to make Elevate a class act in terms of elegance and ease-of-use. I know that many platforms lack the usability and intuitiveness required by advisers. AXA Wealth's commitment is to create a best-in-class platform, with a simple-to-use customer interface, wide investment solutions and easy to navigate client reporting tools."

 To complement this initiative, AXA Wealth will begin to replace its current brand imagery with a new visual identity across all marketing collateral, including product literature, marketing communications and website. The new AXA Wealth visual identity has been designed to reflect its new wealth management focus and to set it apart from other brands operating in its markets.

 Kellard continues: "Our new visual identity supports the work on improving the customer experience. The new AXA Wealth identity is underpinned by a set of principles, which is designed to ensure that our communications and visual points of interaction with our customers and, where relevant, employees, are instinctive, consistent and easy to understand and navigate."

 The new brand family is made up of two entities: AXA Wealth and its offshore AXA Wealth International business, which is based in both the Isle of Man and Dublin. The two AXA Wealth brands are underpinned by its wealth management propositions, including AXA Bancassurance and Elevate. Architas will retain its current distinctive branding.

 The new visual identity will be launched at the same time as the company reorganises its business, under a set Part VII legal process. This will see the transfer of policies in various directions between Winterthur Life, AXA Wealth and Friends Life to align the portfolios with strategic objectives. This is expected to complete by the end of 2011 (subject to certain conditions including regulatory and Court approval).

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