Justin Blower, head of sales at Ascentric, believes ownership structure is a vital part of the due diligence process.
“I think one of the areas we try and focus on with advisers is not only the financial strength of the parent but also to understand what is the commitment to the platform market,” he says.
He points out another important part of due diligence is “understanding your own client profile and then obviously understanding whether that platform can deliver what your client needs”.
Part of this is scrutinising the fees charged by platforms and Mr Blower sees there is an emphasis on the total cost of ownership for clients.
“We’re seeing advisers spend more time understanding what the total cost of the portfolio might look like, but also linked to that we’re definitely seeing more advisers outsourcing their decision making to discretionary fund managers,” he notes.
It may appear to be a bleak outlook for providers in the current environment, but following a period of consolidation many platforms should be in a better financial position and there is a clear need for their services among advisers.
Adrian Lowcock, investment director at Architas, has another take on where platforms’ focus will lie in the future. “As the industry looks at how to engage with the next generation of investors, it isn’t just a case of having the best technology,” he says.
“The nature of the services offered are expected to evolve from micropayments to robo-advice, meaning that how platforms deliver services and are presented to investors will become more important.
“For advisers and wealth managers there is a need to bring more of the process on to a centralised platform to reduce paperwork, risk and streamline the advice process.”
Ellie Duncan is deputy features editor at Investment Adviser