Wraps & Platforms - March 2012
Wraps and platforms are starting to become the established means by which financial advisers do business.
They collate a client’s portfolio in one place and allow easy access to funds across the investment spectrum.
For some companies they are seen as the white knight that will ensure their future business: the life offices. As a result many have launched in the last few years, and the tools have evolved to include useful functions, to help advisers plan their clients’ portfolio efficiently, adding value to their service.
But as with any type of instrument that becomes popular, the FSA has started to keep a close eye on how platforms and wraps function, and how money is passed from the fund managers, to the platforms and to the clients. And any time a particular function on the platform becomes popular, once again the regulator alerts the industry that it is taking a look.
But despite the regulatory scrutiny, wraps have become incredibly popular, and as advisers gear up for the RDR, so they can become more useful when calculating adviser charging.
The question remains, in terms of how wraps and platforms will evolve in the next few years, and whether they wil be the same in number.
They have developed from being the mass market supermarkets to all singing and dancing investment tools, with a wide variety of assets and the universe of funds. Only time will tell which will stay in the long term.
Hal Austin is editor of Financial Adviser
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