SL: ‘Other platforms may struggle for superclean access’

Standard Life has claimed its rivals may struggle to persuade fund groups to roll out discounted shares more widely, after announcing its 291-strong cut-price range.

The platform has negotiated an average discount of 14 basis points from the ongoing charges of funds from 13 groups.

But head of investment group relationships, Graham Dow, said groups may not be immediately willing to open the same terms to all major UK platforms, even though the share classes are not exclusive to Standard Life and the platform has “never demanded sole use”.

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“We have always negotiated these terms since 2006,” Mr Dow said.

“This level of transparency has flushed out that platforms haven’t negotiated these or haven’t been able to in the past.

“Fund groups now have a stark decision to make: if they are going to match these terms elsewhere then they are going to have to take a hit to their margins. One group told me it could cost them £2m-£3m a year.

“It is admirable that platforms think they can just get these terms, but they don’t understand the groups or have those strong relationships with them.”

Axa Elevate, Novia, Fidelity FundsNetwork and Skandia have all publicly stated that they will gain access to the same terms as Standard Life, but this was in response to the previous announcement of a smaller range of funds and a smaller average discount.

Skandia’s subsequent WealthSelect range secured discounts on 21 funds from nine groups, not including Old Mutual Global Investors funds. Meanwhile FundsNetwork in October launched an ‘Access’ programme offering fund managers a range of services in exchange for securing discounted clean shares.