Your IndustryApr 26 2012

Adviser Attitudes: Platforms and Outsourcing

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ByNicola Culley

A vast majority – 88.6 per cent – had embraced at least one platform as part of their business.

Freddie Findlater, head of adviser platforms at The Platforum, said some advisers were unwilling to implement a platform because of uncertainty.

He said: “We have had lots of papers on platforms and still some to come, so the process of understanding has been somewhat held up.

“It does not surprise me a proportion of advisers are still not using a platform.”

Regionally, CoreData research showed Wales had fully taken on technology with 100 per cent of respondents platforms. Northeast England showed the lowest proportion of platform usage at 68.2 per cent.

According to Mr Findlater, there was “a bit of a southwest contingency” of platform providers in Bath and Bristol so perhaps it explained some of the trend.

He added: “Undoubtedly platforms are a facilitator in helping advisers through RDR, but they are not the panacea. They also facilitate advisers wanting to outsource to discretionary fund managers, which has been a rising trend as advisers try to de-risk portfolios in the volatile markets.”

According to CoreData, adviser numbers offering in-house advice but outsourcing all investments to a discretionary fund manager was described as “low” in the survey. And those outsourcing only some investments crept up to “average” numbers.

Providing all advice and performing all asset allocation in-house was the way of business for 56.7 per cent of advisers.

Mr Findlater said client relationships were where advisers found most value in their working life and did not want to outsource.

But The Platforum had noted lots of activity in the platform market making discretionary fund management outsourcing and model portfolios available.

The FSA’s latest guidance consultation, Assessing suitability: Replacement business and centralised investment propositions, illustrates the issues for IFAs using outsourced investment management services.