Ironically, the RDR could be hindering short-term platform market growth with a muted take-up expected ahead of deadline, expert predicts

Independent platform consultancy, The Platforum, predicts a muted growth of new business written on platforms in the run up to the RDR deadline as Q4 2010 saw 77% of new business written off platform. Figures collated and analysed in the fifth quarterly (plat)Form Guide show that in the last quarter of 2010 a staggeringly high percentage (77%) of new business was still being written off platform. Although this is down from Q3 it still means the split between new business written on and off platform is 23% and 77% respectively and highlights the slow growth in this area. This situation is compounded by over 5,000 advisers placing all of their business in Q4 off platform, a 14% increase on Q3 2010. The key stats, taken from the (plat)Form Guide and based on Touchstone data, are: • 124 IFAs placed all of their business via platforms in Q4 10, down from 129 in Q3 2010 • 5394 IFAs placed all of their business ‘off’ platform in Q4 10, up from 4730 in Q3 2010 • ‘On’ platform new business via IFAs was £2.99bn in Q4 10 (23% of IFA market), up from £2.76bn in Q3 2010 • ‘Off’ platform new business via IFAs was £10.16bn in Q4 10 (77% of IFA market), down from £10.27bn in Q3 The Platforum managing director Holly Mackay says: “Anecdotal evidence points to this muted uptake of platforms continuing right up until the 2013 deadline. Over 5,000 IFAs are still placing all of their business off platform and for platforms this represents a huge opportunity to grow assets. “On the other hand, for life companies...

Shake up at top of the Platforum Leaderboard – Transact takes top spot

Transact has knocked Nucleus off the top spot and Standard Life has jumped from fourth to second  place in the new and improved Platforum  Leaderboard, compiled by industry consultants The Platforum. The Platforum Leaderboard reflects the views of over 850 IFA users who were asked to rate providers against 10 different criteria – BDM support, quality of customer service, ease of doing business, quality of reports, general web usability, usefulness of online tools, choice of funds and tax wrappers, technical support, value of fees charged, general opinion and rating. For the first time IFA ratings have been supplemented by independent ratings agency AKG financial strength assessments. The new combined ratings have brought about a dramatic shake up at the top of the table with Transact and Standard Life taking first and second place respectively. Q4 2010 Platform 1 Nucleus 2 Novia 3 Transact 4 Standard Life 5 Ascentric 6 Elevate 7 7IM 8 Skandia 9 Cofunds 10 FundsNetwork Q1 2011  Platform 1 Transact 2 Standard Life 3 Elevate 4 Nucleus 5 Skandia 6 Ascentric 7 Novia 8 7IM 9 Cofunds 10 FundsNetwork   The findings form part of a wide reaching quarterly survey of the platform market called The (plat)Form Guide which goes into detail not only about how platforms are doing overall but which areas of their proposition they are doing better on than others, where they are relatively strong and where there is a clear mandate for improvement. The Platforum managing director Holly Mackay says of the results and the new ratings criteria: “The decision to include AKG’s financial strength ratings in the Platforum Leaderboard is indicative...

Counter-intuitive trends in adviser platform usage and adoption – report reveals

Research to be published on February 25th will show for the first time the combination of platforms advisers are using and will reveal counter-intuitive trends.  The findings form part of a wide reaching quarterly survey of the platform market called The (plat)Form Guide, compiled and researched by independent industry consultants The Platforum. Using adviser adoption and usage data from Touchstone and Unbiased.co.uk, The Platforum has been able to produce the broadest and most up-to-date picture of how advisers are using platforms, not just the number of platforms, but the combinations too. The research has been drawn from over 900 adviser reviews of platforms, 550 adviser firms and 64 in-depth adviser interviews.  By far the most common combination of platforms used is a Skandia, Fidelity and Cofunds mix. The next most common combination is two out of these and a newer wrap proposition, most often Transact. Cofunds and Transact, as well as Skandia and 7IM are the most common combinations revealed. The smaller brand platforms are most likely to be used by advisers as their sole platform choice while the opposite is true for the life company brand wraps.  Standard Life and Elevate advisers are more likely to play the field, citing fears over independence and lack of contact with senior directors and strategy. A further finding is that advisers using just one platform are significantly happier about the service and functionality than advisers using, two, three and more.  Customer service was rated very good, or good, by 82% of advisers using just one platform and only 39% with advisers using three or more platforms.  The Platforum managing director Holly...