Eagle-eyed TCWU readers may have spotted that last week we told you normal service would resume today with Mr P firmly back at the helm of the Update. But fear not friends, our dear leader is not MIA, he’s just STILL on holiday. And in the meantime the Update stops for nothing or no one so it’s up to me to do the honours this week. I’ll do my best not to let the power go straight to my head.

This is actually my first time ever in charge of the Update, which feels slightly unlucky given it’s probably one of the quietest times of the year on the industry news front, although for anyone who knows me, I’m never short of things to chat about and today is no exception.

THE CURIOUS QUESTION OF CASH

Each quarter, our very own Platform Market Scorecard takes a more in depth look at a different platform-related topic, with past explorations including family linking and the future of platforms post-Covid, to name but a few. And in our latest Scorecard, due out in the next day or so, we turn our attention to holding cash on platforms.

Cash doesn’t necessarily rank highly on advisers’ list of platform priorities but bear with us while we explain why it matters more than you might think. Out of the 26 platforms that provide data to the lang cat’s Platform Analyser, there are only five that don’t carry a charge for holding cash. Things get interesting when you then look at the rates platforms currently pay for holding cash and find that the effective rate (net of charges) is actually negative for 20 platforms.

So irrespective of the rates on offer, many platforms are simply not set up to be an attractive venue for cash. And by levying a platform charge the interest rates are further reduced, which in a low-rate environment can mean advisers and clients are signing up to a guaranteed loss.

That’s about all we’ll say on that for now but if you’re curious to find out more then all the details are available to Platform Analyser subscribers, who receive their very own copy of the Scorecard every quarter. As coincidence would have it, we actually have an online demo of Platform Analyser lined up for tomorrow and there’s still time to register if you’d like a tour and some more info about how it all works.

BREAKING NEWS

 What was that I said about it being a quiet week? Just as we were getting ready to publish TCWU this morning, M&G announced that it has bought Huddersfield-based financial planning firm Sandringham for an undisclosed sum. As Citywire’s David Campbell explains, the advice firm will sit within M&G’s recently created wealth division and will add over £2.5bn in assets under service.

 ALL EYES ON PRAEMIUM

Praemium gave us all a pretty big surprise earlier in the summer when it announced it was putting its UK business, Praemium International, up for sale. The initial shock has worn off and is now being followed by the firm’s latest results announced this week which show a 55% increase in funds under administration in the financial year for Praemium International, spurred by record inflows. At £2.7bn, funds under administration are edging closer to that £3bn milestone and platform revenue has reached £4.4m, a 30% increase on the previous financial year. We believe the business is also pushing ahead with a recruitment drive in adviser support and business development, so it seems like business as usual for the time being.

NO MISSING LINKS

  • It feels like just a few weeks ago that we were discussing the need for advisers to get better at talking up the benefits of protection here on the Update, and it seems that life insurer Dead Happy has once again taken a very, ahem, direct approach to tackling this issue in its new TV and ad campaign asking consumers to ‘Please Die Responsibly’. We’ll watch with interest to see how this lands.
  • Investment trusts have a seen a record surge in purchases on adviser platforms over the first quarter, according to data compiled by Matrix Financial Clarity. £368m of the asset class was purchased over the period, which is said to be 22% higher than the previous record jump back in Q3 2016 following the EU referendum and the suspension of several open-ended property funds.
  • Shout out to the Verve Group which is offering TCWU readers a 15% discount on ticket prices (using code LANG15) for their Evolution summit and awards taking place on 1st September.
  • Now for my favourite, and final, contribution to TCWU. Continuing this week’s extremely tenuous links to military acronyms, here’s I.A’s Paper Planes, which still sounds as fresh as ever even if it does appear on a Spotify ‘Throwback Thursday’ playlist despite it only being released in 2008.

You may have stopped believing us by now but Mark will be returning in next week’s TCWU.

We promise.

Pam