Platforms remain bullish on trust access

Platforms remain bullish on trust access

Two of the largest adviser platforms have remained bullish on their lack of access to investment trusts, in the face of calls for a widening of their investment options, while one fund supermarket says change is on the horizon.

Earlier today (25 June), Henderson research suggested that 57 per cent of IFAs do not recommend investment companies to their clients, due to a lack of platform access, with the firm’s director James de Sausmarez calling on Fidelity Fundsnetwork, Cofunds and Old Mutual to change their policies.

Association of Investment Companies data earlier this month showed investment trust purchases on platforms by advisers and wealth managers reached a new record high of £125.3m in the first quarter this year, 14 per cent more than purchases of £109.7m in the first three months of 2014.

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Responding to Henderson’s comments, Old Mutual Wealth said their position remains the same.

“Advisers very rarely use one platform these days - they may use a main one and a secondary one that offers access to other investments so this should not stop access to investment trusts - ultimately they can use as many platforms as they like to meet client needs,” explained a spokesman.

Fundsnetwork stated that it already offers intermediaries access to the Woodford Patient Capital Trust as well as a range of five Fidelity investment trusts.

“We are significantly enhancing our platform capability, which will include the addition of investment trusts and exchange traded funds from a range of other providers,” said a spokesman.

“It is our clear intention to build a scalable solution to support a wider range of both investment trusts and also ETFs.

“We cannot confirm timings at this stage, but by offering access to the Woodford Patient Capital Trust we are signalling our clear intention to drive this forward as quickly as we can.”

Meanwhile Cofunds had nothing further to add to the statement given to FTAdviser in response to a similar story about lack of access to ETFs earlier this week.

At that stage Cofunds said that while increasing numbers of its clients are requesting not-so-mainstream investments, the overall demand remains small. “These types of investments are in the planning mix for future development, but we have no timescales to confirm as yet.”

Novia chief executive Bill Vasilieff blamed slow take-up of ETFs on some of the larger fund supermarkets trying to “muddy the waters” around ETFs by branding them “risky” and stating that there was a lack of demand from advisers and clients.

However the lack of access issue has been rumbling on for over a year now, while some advisers simply are not convinced by the investment case for trusts.