Nucleus and Transact wrap up poll victory
Transact was deemed to be the best overall large platform provider ahead of Cofunds, Fidelity Fundsnetwork, Skandia and Standard Life's fund supermarket Fund Zone - the platforms that dominate the wrap and platform market.
Among a group of platforms with significantly smaller market share, Nucleus was seen as the best overall smaller platform, ahead of Abbey, Ascentric, Seven Investment Management and Standard Life's wrap proposition.
The findings were based on 638 responses obtained from IFAs in April and May.
CoreData measured platform performance on 39 different separate metrics covering functionality, product and investment range, fees and underlying costs, adviser remuneration, service, support and reporting capability.
Transact was highly rated for its functionality and ease of use, the choice of products and services available to IFAs and on service and support factors, while Nucleus also performed well on its functionality, the choice of products and services offered and its flexibility to suit adviser needs.
Matthew Craig, director of CoreData Research, said: "We have benchmarked the main platforms in the market and Transact and Nucleus scored very well on a wide range of measures among IFAs.
"The challenge for them will be in maintaining their standards as competition intensifies and, in the case of Nucleus, as it grows, as our evidence from other markets such as Australia, shows that platforms often start to creak as they increase in size."
David Ferguson, chief executive of Nucleus, said: "I am pleased people believe our service is of a high standard. Our underlying technology is scaleable so we should be able to maintain standards."
Among other platforms, Seven Investment Management was rated particularly highly for investment switching and administration, while Standard Life's wrap was seen as very good for connectivity between desktop and the platform and for online transactions.
Ascentric was highly regarded for reporting purposes and Skandia was rated highly for the tools offered on the platform, the cost of the platform to the adviser and the cost of tax wrappers and for sales support.
In looking at the broader picture, the research found IFAs had immediate concerns about difficult market conditions and winning business.
Asked what were the most important challenges facing them, a third of advisers said difficult investment market conditions, compared with 24 per cent for regulatory change endangering IFAs as a distribution channel and 21 per cent for lack of consumer trust in the financial services industry.
On the most urgent specific needs for their businesses, 54 per cent of advisers cited more effective marketing while 51 per cent picked from efficient administration systems.