Q&A: Ian Taylor of Transact

Our mission has always been to become the essential partner for financial advisers when managing a financial planning business. We’re business planners for advisers, rather than providers.

We were described as being iconoclast when we launched. I think the market has got to a point now where it is unlikely you will see very many if any purely entrepreneurial platforms.

Many of the platforms launched recently have been defensive rather than entrepreneurial. New platforms have been created to protect legacy books – although it might not be their only motivation.

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The RDR has mostly been a boon to Transact. We introduced compulsory adviser charging back in 2000 so the difficulties that have arisen as a result of simple operating haven’t applied to us – or our client advisers. It’s not been an easy ride but it was certainly easier on us more than many other people.

Some platforms have found the RDR more challenging than others. The changes to the platform rules will eventually create a degree of homogeneity among all platforms.

The post-RDR world will have almost all advisers, rather than some, on a platform. Whichever it will be, it will form a critical part of the operating infrastructure of their business.

The platform paper itself doesn’t actually require us to make a great deal of change to our systems and processes. We’re already able to handle unit rebates – we’ve been handling them for years.

I don’t see how you can provide a comprehensive service to financial planners if you don’t make it easy for them to make investment decisions. It’s not up to us to select what people may or may not buy other than limitations of law.

One of the topics that is prevalent at the moment is the idea of platforms carrying investment trusts. I suspect some platforms have looked at investment trusts and decided the demand is not high enough to build the trading processes.

Clean share class funds is just a new name for something that has happened for just about ever. The process of relabeling an old issue has just given it a new lease of life.

The only thing I think is worth keeping a weather eye on is that we don’t go full circle back to the bad old days when there really was a range of things restricted based on price. It would be a real shame if fund managers and others are frightened into a position where you get some retrograde steps back to a world where only some people will get some things.

We describe ourselves as compulsive insourcers. The reason why is that running a platform and being able to connect everything and join everything up with the accuracy and speed that advisers need means you simply can’t rely too much on external parties.

We will only outsource if we absolutely can’t manage it internally. It gives us complete control over the process.