Friday 18 June 2021 11:08 am

Exclusive: Quilter to make hundreds more redundant in bid to slash costs since LSE listing

Quilter is poised to make some 400 more people redundant as the UK exits the Covid-19 pandemic, having already laid off hundreds of staff in an effort to bring its costs into line since it listed on the London Stock Exchange.

At least 200 people working in areas as varied as financial advice and HR have been made redundant by the FTSE 250 wealth management company, City A.M. understands.

Sources have estimated that around 400 more will be made redundant in the future – some 10 per cent of its workforce – after the company spent more than half a billion pounds on transforming its platform; a piece of technology used by financial advisers to buy funds and other investments for their clients.

Sources close to the company told City A.M. the redundancies have so far taken place in waves, making it difficult to know exactly how many people have been let go.

Those working on the platform side of the business are understood to be particularly at risk of future redundancies, as the technology changes made to the platform automate many of the roles previously carried out by people.

The redundancies have been ongoing since the business listed on the LSE via IPO in June 2018.

Prior to the listing, the business, then known as Old Mutual Wealth, was effectively five businesses cobbled together; a financial advice network then known as Intrinsic, discretionary fund management business Quilter Cheviot, Quilter International, which serviced wealthy ex-pats, fund manager Old Mutual Global Investors, and the platform.

As a result, roles at the wealth manager, which rebranded to Quilter when it listed in London, were duplicated across the company. 

Sources said part of the rationale behind Quilter’s redundancy was to get rid of the duplicated roles, known as an ‘optimisation programme’ in-house.

Quilter has also sold off some of those businesses since the listing, including its international business and part of its fund management business.

The FTSE firm knew it needed to make cuts prior to listing on the stock exchange as its cost base was too high and its duplicated roles were unnecessary, however, the business is understood to have been keen to get on with the IPO, and so never got around to slimming down before it went public.

Now, “under the analysts’ eye” as one source put it, the business is pressing on with its cost-cutting measures.

The redundancies have been ongoing since the listing, and in 2019 Quilter launched its ‘Hello Tomorrow’ programme, based down in Southampton that aimed to re-deploy those who would be made redundant to other parts of the business, or to help them in find work elsewhere. 

It then paused its redundancy process during the pandemic, but is understood to have re-started now vaccines have been rolled out more widely and life has returned to some semblance of normality. 

A Quilter spokesperson said: “We have spoken for some time about our focus to deliver an improvement in Quilter’s operational performance and ensure the business is lean, agile and well set for the future.

“Our platform transformation was a critical programme to help the business become simpler and more streamlined. As more processes are now completed online, we have made a reduction in headcount in back office roles. 

“We have worked closely with our people to prepare them for the future, being open and transparent about a reduction in roles following our platform transformation and have put in place a support programme that focussed on retraining and taking control of change and wellbeing.”

The spokesperson added that it had enjoyed “strong new business flows” following the platform upgrade, and that its service centre is recruiting so “advisers continue to receive the high standards of service they expect from us.”