Platforms  

Standard Life is fastest growing advised platform

Standard Life is fastest growing advised platform

Aegon was the platform with the largest growth in assets in percentage terms, at 66 per cent, in 2017 due to the ongoing transfer of legacy pension business onto its platform, with Aviva not far behind at 60 per cent.

Fundscape also reported both Aegon and Aviva were in the top two spots for net sales in the fourth quarter of 2017, with £2.3bn and £1.7bn respectively.

The fourth quarter of 2017 was the second best on record for gross sales for platforms, with £33bn over the three-month period.

Meanwhile annual sales were £126bn, a record-breaking level and up 34 per cent against 2016.

Bella Caridade-Ferreira, Fundscape's chief executive, said: "2017 was a great year for the platform and fund industries thanks to defined benefit transfers and pension freedoms.

"We expect business to remain robust, but with increased volatility on the cards this year, these sales trends are unlikely to be maintained in 2018."

When looking at pure retail advised business, stripping out direct-to-consumer, institutional and workplace savings, Standard Life Aberdeen rises to the top in terms of total assets, gross sales and net sales.

Under this categorization, the Standard Life Aberdeen platform has assets of £54bn and saw net sales of £7bn.

In terms of net sales it is followed by Aviva, which saw £5.7bn, Old Mutual with £4.4bn, Transact which saw £3.1bn and AJ Bell, which saw £3bn.

Aviva's presence among the top spots in many of these categories comes after weeks of bad news about the company's platform following its upgrade in mid-January.

Problems began when the Aviva for Advisers platform was offline for more days than originally planned for upgrade work to allow the platform to move to FNZ Technology Service.

But the platform has been causing advisers issues into March as several services have not been available, including client reporting. 

Drawdown income and adviser charges have not been paid in some instances.

AJ Bell was in third spot among all platforms when it came to asset growth in percentage terms, with 36 per cent and was also in the top five for growth in absolute terms, with £8.9bn.

In absolute terms, Hargreaves Lansdown saw the largest growth, with an increase of £16.2bn in assets, with Cofunds in second place with £10.9bn followed by Standard Life Aberdeen with £9.9bn.

In the fourth quarter the largest platform was Cofunds, with total assets of £94.6bn, followed by Hargreaves Lansdown with £86.1bn and Fidelity with £76.7bn.

damian.fantato@ft.com