There are now more than 20 adviser platforms in operation, amounting to nearly £300bn under administration. Over the past few years, platforms have become the business line that many life offices have chosen to help secure their future – Standard Life, for example and Axa.
But experts have been of the opinion for some time that so many cannot carry on existing independently - despite the habits of advisers using several for different purposes.
Those who have not found the platform sector profitable, and could afford to, have pulled out. Others need to stay put and will be forced to make them work.
As the market matures, so advisers will have to take a more sophisticated approach to selecting a platform. If a platform is cheap, will it be around in the next few years? How have the fund supermarkets adapted to the changing marketplace?
Controversy still exists over connections and alliances between platforms and fund managers they might be aligned to, and questions should be asked over how much in assets is invested in in-house funds.
The platform arena has made huge strides in recent years, with more products becoming available via this route. With the emergence of corporate platforms and the introduction of auto-enrolment, they should, over the next few years, start to become more commonplace, and familiar to the general public.
Melanie Tringham is features editor of Financial Adviser