Standard Life reviews fund supermarket offering

Standard Life is reviewing its FundZone and Sigma fund supermarkets to more closely align their offerings with those of wrap platforms in response to adviser demand.

Under the planned changes, Sigma customers who have investments in funds managed by third parties - about 4 per cent of customers - will have the opportunity to move to an unbundled model on the FundZone platform with access to discounted share classes.

This option will be one of several available in the first quarter of 2014, and will be one of the first visible changes to the bundled Sigma fund supermarket which is generally used to access Standard Life Investments funds.

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According to a statement from the company, most of the other changes will take place “behind the scenes” as Standard Life reviews its systems and processes.

David Tiller, head of adviser platforms at Standard Life, said: “Advisers are looking for fund supermarkets to offer the type of services more commonly found on a Wrap platform, including the ability to switch on more sophisticated functionality as and when they need it.

“Given that we already have scalable Wrap technology in our stable, we are looking at how we can use the underlying systems architecture to offer a natural upgrade path for fund supermarket advisers looking to access that additional functionality.

“The review will look at how we do this in an efficient manner without asking advisers to re-register their clients’ assets.”

Standard Life began bulk converting clients to clean share classes at the beginning of this month (1 November), keeping an untaxed unit rebate in place to bridge any cost gap between the two share classes until better rates can be negotiated.

In October, Standard Life reported the number of advisers using its wrap platforms had grown by 20 per cent in the first nine months of 2013.