Platforms  

Major platforms: We will secure same prices as Standard Life

Fund platforms have labelled Standard Life’s revelation of fund groups providing them with discounted fees as a “damp squib” as they insist they will get the same deals.

Standard Life yesterday revealed the names of seven groups from whom it has secured agreements to provide certain funds at a cheaper price than the standard UK retail charge.

However, other major platforms have claimed they are confident that they will get the same deals as Standard Life when the fund groups roll out their discounted prices.

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Standard Life said other platforms may find it difficult to get access to the discounted shares if they did not already have commercial agreements in place with fund group adding that all 15 groups would be signed up by the end of the year of early next year.

Bill Vasilieff, chief executive of Novia, said he had already rung some of the fund groups and he said they had assured him that Novia will get the same deals.

He said he expects that the cheap fee share classes will become widely available because he cannot see a fund manager turning down any adviser group of a decent size if it insists on buying a fund at the cheapest rate.

“The much vaunted story about ‘super clean’ share classes looks like a damp squib,” Mr Vasilieff said.

“But the flop is even more underwhelming - the deals are for a very restricted fund range. The whole thing has failed.”

David Thompson, managing director of Axa Elevate said he was “confident of getting the same deals as other platforms” and had so far had a “firm commitment from at least 10 leading fund groups to offer the best available terms in the market”.

The big three platforms, Skandia, FundsNetwork and Cofunds, also suggested they would be getting the same discounted deals, though they wouldn’t elaborate while discussions are ongoing.

Pat Shea, head of FundsNetwork, said the platform had already agreed “preferential” terms with some fund groups and he said he doesn’t “expect to see significant differences in fund pricing between the largest players”.

James Millard, investment director at Skandia, said that “most fund groups have confirmed to us that we will have access to their preferential share classes as they become available”, while Graham Venn, head of commercial at Cofunds, said the platform “[expects] to be able to access the best available priced funds for some or all of our clients”.

Standard Life revealed the names of seven fund groups that have agreed terms to provide some of their funds to the platform at a discounted price: Cazenove, Schroders, Henderson Global Investors, Threadneedle Investments, Standard Life Investments, Neptune and Investec Asset Management.

It said it had agreed deals with a further four more but that those firms wanted to make their own announcements separately.

The deals in place cover more than 200 funds and offer an average discount of roughly 9 basis points, according to Standard Life.