During the 2010s, several commentators were fond of sayings things like ‘within five years, there will only be four or five adviser platforms’. Their fantasy was that the behemoths would hoover up the smaller, generally start-up-based, platforms, thus preserving the traditional establishment’s grip on the UK retail investment market and enjoying a vertical integration-based nirvana. Some of those commentators were employees of the behemoths. It suited their agenda and so we understood.
The opposite has happened. The UK sector’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit is winning out. New entrants over the last decade kept on coming. Add to that the fact that migrating a platform book from one operating system to another is hellishly difficult, the choice for advisers and their clients is wider than ever.
A decade ago, you were not including Advance by Embark (previously Zurich), Credo, Hubwise, Multrees, P1, Parmenion, Praemium or True Potential in your platform due diligence. The market is virtually unrecognisable but not in the way that many envisaged.
There has, of course, been some significant M&A activity; Cofunds, Elevate, Zurich and now ATS have been acquired. Yet the acquisitions have been the big ones buying from each other, not big ones buying up the small ones. And those acquisitions have not resulted in fewer platforms, just the same ones with different owners and names, because merging the books is too hard.
MORE PLATFORMS, MORE DATA…LANG CAT STUFF PUNTING ALERT…SOME OF IT’S EVEN FREE
Last week we welcomed Fundment as the 26th platform on Platform Analyser, joining Multrees and P1 earlier this year, as the latest consideration in the retail platform space.
True Potential was added this year too. We’re also currently working on getting Fusion Wealth and the new, post-re-platforming version, of Old Mutual (or Quilter Platform, never sure which) onboard too.
There’s a lot to assess and keep track of. And we have your back. As well as new platforms, we’re always busy adding new data and keeping things current and accurate.
Remember to log into Analyser to keep track of regularly moving data, such as AUA, AKG ratings, service ratings and latest developments. These are all updated just after the end of each quarter. Lots of this data is also in our free Platform Directory too.
New data currently in the making will soon be found in the CGT, DFM and Model Portfolio groups. The questions are currently with the platforms and the data is coming in as we speak. And next up on data, we’ll be focusing on:
- An expansion of the straight through processing / paper free data set, to better reflect all the recent Coronavirus-driven changes in the sector; and
- A new ‘descriptions tab’ that will explain more about what each data point means – to better tackle those gnarly grey areas.
At this point I’d like to say a special thanks to our smart and well-informed users for guiding everything we do.
VAMPIRES AT YOUR WINDOW
In addition to all the data baked into Platform Analyser’s due diligence methodology, we also have you covered in another way with an, also free, white paper getting deep into the bones of how to go about assessing and selecting from this diverse and ever changing market. And finally, on the punting thing, if you haven’t yet, please do check out our rather lovely new platform analyser website, which includes demo videos and probably the best ever photograph taken of Leith’s Shore, which is worth the visit alone, surely.
One thing we can be sure of is that over the next 10 years there will be lots of change in lots of ways. Another is that we’ll be here with you to document and make sense of it all.