PlatformsMay 16 2013

Rebate ban could lead platforms to low-cost airline model

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The ban on platform rebates could have the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for advisers to compare actual costs, Ed Dymott has warned.

The head of business development and strategy for Fidelity Worldwide Investment said the “fullness of unbundling” could lead to a situation similar to low-cost airlines, which have so many additional charges at the point of sale that “it made it difficult to compare prices”.

Mr Dymott said: “As a business, we are happy with the proposals within the FCA’s platform paper, as we made the transition to super-clean share classes last year.

“However, one concern I have is that it could create problems with comparisons. I have seen a number of competitors with very different pricing models, and I would encourage the industry and regulator to keep an eye on how charges are published.”

On the potential for consolidation within the platform space, Mr Dymott said: “I don’t think that the ban on platform rebates and the move to clean-share classes will be the driver in terms of consolidation.

“That will be a consequence of capital constraints. Platform businesses are capital intensive and offer low margins, so it will be down to the appetite of individual providers to continue.”

Adviser View

Alan Dick, partner of Glasgow-based Forty Two Wealth Management, said: “I think the platform paper and transparency is a good step in the right direction, and I have spent a lot of time in the past trying to compare pricing structures.

“My platform Transact has a very clear pricing structure. However, I imagine that if providers start adopting complexities in their pricing structures we could see problems.”