‘It’s harder to justify’ moving platform, says Barry Neilson

‘It’s harder to justify’ moving platform, says Barry Neilson

Advisers are finding it harder to justify moving to a new platform, Barry Neilson has said.

Nucleus’s business development director was speaking after his company published the annual census of its users, which found, among other things, that advisers value service above all else when it comes to choosing a platform.

Mr Neilson said: “From a pricing perspective, there is probably less to choose from. There are definitely fewer instances now where it is easy to make the justification of moving between platforms.

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“As the market has matured, this has led to downward pressure on pricing.

“There are still a number of different things that are important to gauge, such as ownership and financial stability.”

The survey of 200 Nucleus users found that many are also users of other platforms, with more than 40 per cent naming Transact, Aviva, Standard Life and Axa Elevate at least once.

It also found almost half of advice firms will increase their use of discretionary fund managers (DFM) in the next year.

As well as the increased trend towards outsourcing investment propositions, more advisers are considering holding discretionary permissions in the future (22 per cent), compared with last year (16 per cent).

In a thematic review on due diligence from February, the Financial Conduct Authority said it found all firms, regardless of size or type, could carry out good research and due diligence, but the regulator remained “disappointed” by some of the gaps it found.

Mr Neilson said: “Firms need to look beyond DFM performance and consider investment companies’ wider infrastructure and, more to the point, each DFM’s ability to address risks that could emerge in future.”

Nucleus is currently building a client portal, which Mr Neilson said would be ready later this year or early in 2017.

Adviser view

Steve Carlson, a chartered financial planner with Cardiff-based Carlson Wealth Management, said: “There has been downward pressure, but there are still differences depending on the client.

“I would also say there are other factors to consider. The two main ones for me are service and fund choice, though on fund choice they are all narrowing. Pricing is one of the main factors, but it is not the only one.”