Platforms  

Pensions shake-up will see sector consolidation: Everill

The head of advisory services for Fidelity’s FundsNetwork said the industry was changing fast and it was no longer appropriate for platforms to remain “sleepy Isa platforms”. Those that do, will fail to provide what advisers need, leading to more consolidation.

He said: “Advisers need better providers and FundsNetwork needs to be on the page again. It is not just about price, although we have been working hard to improve our pricing structure and make it easier for advisers to compare.

“It is also about improving simplicity and use, while bringing on products that advisers need to use as part of their planning process.”

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Mr Everill said that with the compulsion to buy an annuity now removed, it was important that advisers were given a better investment platform.

As part of its improvement plans FundsNetwork was investing in the technology to help the platform get the functionality it needs to start bringing on externally managed exchange-traded funds and investment trusts, he said.

While FundsNetwork already has its own investment trusts on the platform, it does not yet have the capability to bring on investment trusts from other asset managers.

The platform is already busy moving to clean fee structures. He said most of the funds are now clean and, by the end of the Q4 2015, FundsNetwork should have moved the whole book to clean share classes.

Mr Everill added: “Technology is in itself a blunt instrument but it needs to be more efficient, and more price efficient. Also, intermediaries need something that is customer-centric and the industry needs to keep up with regulation.”

Adviser view

Alan Higham, founder of Milton Keynes-Based Retirement Angels and director of Annuity Direct, said: “The changes to pensions mean that unless the industry makes the necessary changes to help customers, especially those who are in defined contribution or auto-enrolled schemes, the pension will not deliver the right outcomes.

“As a result of all the changes, I would expect there to be great consolidation in the pension and investment sector. For example, I do not think there will be more than 10 providers operating workplace pensions.”