“Rubbish. Absolute rubbish. The fundamental considerations are basically what are the key things that we do and we manage people’s risks.”
However, Mr Chamberlain admits that an understanding of what goes on below the supposed features and benefits is needed.
He says: “Most of my advisers carry screwdrivers and hammers around. They will take a look at this shiny red Ferrari which looks like one but once they get the bonnet up and start taking it apart they might find out there is a little lawnmower engine in it.”
I don’t really want to start hoovering up firms that aren’t aligned with our way of doing things.
Worldwide Financial Planning uses a number of platforms, the effective use of which Mr Chamberlain believes is equally as essential for independent advisers.
“You need to work out what is of benefit and what do they need when you go through the process of knowing your client, then you know you can match what your client needs - whether it would be of benefit to them to be on a platform.”
Mr Chamberlain says the firm examined what benefits clients would get from using platforms and which clients would benefit when they segmented their clients. However, he says he does not see the value of continuing to obsessively review the whole platform market.
“I did about three years of due diligence from 2003 to 2006 before I actually decided that there was a number of key platforms that were of value and we keep up to date with whether or not they remain of value.
“We don’t distract ourselves by looking at the 30-odd players that are in the market at the minute.”
Like other market commentators, Mr Chamberlain anticipates a shrinking platform market and believes that over the next five years, the market will consolidate to about four or five big players.
“I think there will still be some niche boutiquey-type products floating around that people will use but the main players in the market will shrink to four or five.
“This is on the very basis of the business model required, volume with low margins because consumers I think have set out their needs and wants and one of them is not to pay through the nose.
“I think certainly within the next five years there will be a price war between the platforms and the ones that will win are the ones with the technology and service propositions.”
Loss of knowledge