From Special Report:
Revealed: Investment Adviser Platform Award Winners
Investment Adviser’s second annual platform survey reveals the best-performing platform players
With more than £190bn in assets under administration and roughly 30 providers, the UK’s wrap and platform industry is already one of the big beasts of the investment world.
The report on platforms in last week’s issue of Investment Adviser highlighted the debate among advisers and providers alike as to how the platform industry will develop. Many suggested that consolidation or mergers and acquisitions is a likely outcome, although some suggested the industry could yet expand further before that occurs.
When it comes to brand awareness and perceived financial stability, advisers still favour some of the larger providers - Cofunds, Fidelity FundsNetwork, Skandia Investment Solutions (soon to be rebranded as part of a restructuring at parent company Old Mutual) and Standard Life. However, the second Investment Adviser Platform Awards, which recognises the top-performing players in the marketplace, reveals that the smaller players are gaining traction, particularly when it comes to technology and service.
The top platforms of 2012
This year’s award for Platform of the Year was dominated by more established players. Skandia Investment Solutions won the top honours for 2012, just ahead of Transact, which was highly commended by advisers. Standard Life was also commended.
The award confirms these groups’ respective standing in the market, even in the face of recent figures that confirmed Cofunds had overtaken Skandia as the largest platform in the UK by assets under administration.
Although in a different order, this result mirrors that of Platforum’s leaderboard for the first quarter of 2012, which saw Transact take the top spot, with Skandia in second place and Standard Life in third. The leaderboard examines platforms’ overall performance in terms of financial strength, percentage increase in assets under administration and price on a quarterly basis, as well as reviews from roughly 1,800 advisers.
Investment Adviser’s award for Best Newcomer, which includes only those platforms that launched into the marketplace within the last five years, goes to Novia Financial, which has £1.1bn in assets under administration as at the end of March this year, according to the Platforum. When compared with the first quarter in 2011, this is a 10 per cent increase in assets under administration.
Chief executive and co-founder Bill Vasilieff told Investment Adviser that, as part of the firm’s growth plans, he is looking to buy up books of business and eventually float on the stockmarket. “I think everything is a takeover target at the end of the day. But we’re not looking to be taken over. We’re looking to build this business up – and float it in due course,” he explains.