Financial services giant Quilter wants to simplify its business throughout 2021.
As a result, chief executive Paul Feeney said, during the firm’s 2020 financial results, that Quilter Private Client Advisers will be transferred into Quilter Cheviot later this year.
The move will help with the delivery of a “seamless proposition encompassing advice and bespoke investment management”, he said. “This will ensure integrated delivery of good client outcomes, while helping us maximise the growth potential within our higher net worth proposition.”
Additionally, the strategic review of Isle of Man-based Quilter International is still ongoing.
Feeney said that the board is considering a series of options ranging from the retention of the business to its disposal.
“This review has made considerable progress, but the board is not yet in a position to reach a conclusion. We continue to note that if a disposal were to be decided upon, there is no certainty that any potential transaction would be concluded. We expect to update the market on the outcome of the strategic review by late spring 2021.”
Quilter International assets under administration saw a 6% increase to £21.8bn ($30.3bn, €25.5bn) from £20.5bn in 2019.
During the results, Quilter has upped provisions to £28m to pay for defined benefit (DB) transfer advice shortfalls in advice given by subsidiary Lighthouse relating to the British Steel scandal.
This following the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) skilled person review into Quilter advice subsidiary Lighthouse in June 2020.
The firm had already set aside £24m to pay for any compensation due.
The complaints it received all relate to advice given prior to the acquisition in 2019, the firm clarified.
Quilter added: “A total provision of £28m (31 December 2019: £12m) has been calculated for the potential redress of all British Steel cases, including anticipated costs of legal and professional fees associated with the redress activity.
“The provision was increased during 2020 following the publication of the FCA thematic review and additional client complaints being received.”
The financial services giant experienced a fall in adjusted profits before tax in 2020 – £168m from £182m in 2019.
Assets under management increased last year, however, by 7% to £117.8bn, with a significant increase in net client cash flow of £1.6bn (around £300m in 2019).
There was a small decrease in integrated net inflows of £2.3bn compared with £2.6bn in 2019.
Productivity also saw a reduction from £1.6m in 2019 to £1.3m in 2020.
Feeney added: “Limited net organic growth was a function of the external environment coupled with increased focus on individual adviser productivity. We expect further departures during 2021 as we reposition Quilter Financial Planning to drive better flow momentum while delivering good customer outcomes.
“The pipeline of firms seeking to join our network remains strong.”
But 2020 was not only the year of covid-19, the top boss said.
“The death of George Floyd in the US and subsequent protests in May emphasised the importance of decisive action and my own communication on the topic acted as a catalyst for colleagues opening up and demonstrated to me that, as an organisation, we had further work to do.”
Subsequently, Quilter created two group-wide networks for cultural diversity and for LGBT+, alongside its already existing gender equality one.
The firm also revealed that it reached its target of having women in 35% of senior management roles and has increased the goal to 38% by 2023.
As part of its cultural push, Quilter will report ethnic diversity data for the first time in 2021 and set future targets as a result.