Platforms rail at Skandia over RDR charging claims
Most platforms say warnings are out of touch, with Novia saying it represents a “fundamental misunderstanding”.
Skandia’s warning about adviser charging systems already in place on rival platforms potentially ‘misleading’ advisers demonstrates a “fundamental misunderstanding” of platforms, rival firm Novia has argued.
Earlier today (26 June) Skandia issued a warning to advisers that platforms claiming to have operational adviser-charging systems in place may find themselves non-compliant once the Retail Distribution Review takes effect in January.
The concerns outlined by Nick Dixon, marketing manager at Skandia, were largely rooted in the idea that the cash account used for adviser charges sits outside the packaged product.
Bill Vasilieff, chief executive officer of Novia, said these claims demonstrated “a fundamental misunderstanding of how platforms work”.
He said: “Each packaged product has an individual cash facility. We have a number of cash facilities with one sitting inside each product, so the charge comes out of the packaged product and [will still] benefit from tax relief.”
Hugo Thorman, managing director of Ascentric, said: “I don’t know what [Skandia are] talking about. Some of it seemed to imply a misunderstanding of how cash accounts work and how the charging structure works anyway when you have a cash account.
“One wouldn’t take lessons from someone who doesn’t operate adviser charging at all at the moment.
“It is obvious for any platform to have understood what is compliant and not compliant around RDR so it’s an extraordinary thing to state.”
Malcolm Murray, head of marketing at Transact, said: “I honestly think they are barking up the wrong tree.
“When the RDR paper first came out and talked about customer agreed remuneration, they actually quoted that the method by which adviser charging was accommodated on a platform was the best way it could be done.
“The key to the whole thing is the customer has to agree to how much the adviser is going to charge and how that will be levied.”
David Ferguson, chief executive of Nucleus, added: “They may be better focusing on getting themselves ready than taking potshots at firms that have been operating this way for years.”
However, not all responses were in disagreement with Skandia.
A spokesperson for Standard Life said: “We agree advisers should be looking to get clarity from the platforms they do business with to ensure they have what is needed in place to move to adviser charging.
“Standard Life offers a mix of adviser charging from the client account and within tax wrappers which afford the adviser choice over how which client remuneration model is most appropriate.”