Platforms  

Cofunds, Fidelity and Hargreaves are biggest AUA platforms

The largest platforms by assets under administration are Cofunds, Fidelity and Hargreaves Lansdown in the three months to the end of September, according to Fundscape research.

At the end of the third quarter, Cofunds had AUA of £58.3bn; Fidelity had £45.9bn and Hargreaves Lansdown had £39.3bn.

Fundscape found in terms of percentage growth, the fastest growing platforms in the third quarter were Nucleus with growth of 8.8 per cent, Ascentric with growth of 8.7 per cent and in joint third place, Axa Elevate and Cofunds with growth of 8.5 per cent.

Gross platform flows were down slightly to £17.2bn compared with the previous quarter, but are up on a year-on-year basis by around 45 per cent, according to Fundscape analysis.

Bella Caridade-Ferreira, chief executive of Fundscape, said “The third quarter of 2012 was moribund for the industry as a whole, so the uplift looks pretty good.

“Nonetheless, a combination of improving economic fundamentals, the feel good factor that comes with a warm summer, and the fact that [the Retail Distribution Review] has been great for the platform industry, propelled gross flows to new heights.”

She added it was an “even rosier picture” for net inflows which totalled £10.1bn for the third quarter, up 13 per cent on the previous quarter, and up a whopping 98 per cent on the same quarter of 2012.

Ms Caridade-Ferreira said: “Adviser charging has meant that platforms are now capturing much more adviser business than before. In addition, a swathe of re-registrations has boosted platform activity. However, the reality is that investor sentiment has been improving quarter on quarter and that is what is driving sales.”

Alastair Conway, chief executive of James Hay Partnership, added: “The third quarter certainly felt like the quarter that the industry finally stopped talking about RDR implementation and started simply ‘living’ it ahead of the inevitable reflection of a year in the ‘new world’ we’ll get in the fourth quarter.

“For our own part, it was a quarter marked by milestones and continued solid growth. Not only did we hit £15bn assets under administration at the end of the third quarter.

“But as an indication of the broader health of the market, it was very encouraging to see that new business levels for the year to date at the end of the quarter were ahead of target, with new money inflows comparable with the previous quarter.

“Given that the second quarter includes tax year end that is no mean feat.”

David Thompson, managing director of Axa Wealth Elevate, added that the growth in sales and total assets demonstrates the strength of the advice market during what continues to be a challenging market environment.

He said: “We are only as good as the advisers we work with and the growth is a reflection of the confidence they have placed in us to help them do the best job possible for their clients.

“The [RDR] was a challenge, which we were able to meet through our investment, but the regulatory change has not stopped there.”