Platforms  

Platform assets plunge £30bn in first quarter

Platform assets plunge £30bn in first quarter

Market volatility and poor weather led to total platform assets dropping in the first quarter of 2018, according to data from consultancy firm Fundscape.

An 8 per cent drop in the FTSE All Share in the first three months of the year led to assets dropping by £23bn, from £592bn to £569bn.

The bulk of this drop in assets is accounted for by Zurich's assets falling by £20.1bn as a result of the sale of its workplace platform to Scottish Widows, according to Fundscape.

Cofunds topped the charts, with total assets of £90.8bn, with Hargreaves Lansdown in second place with £87.1bn, though Hargreaves Lansdown had higher net sales in the quarter, at £1.9bn, while Cofunds does not feature in the top five for net sales.

Standard Life had the highest net sales among the adviser platforms, with £1.6bn, followed by Aviva at £1.5bn.

TOP 5 PLATFORMS BY GROSS SALESQ118 (£m)

 

TOP 5 PLATFORMS BY NET SALES Q118 (£m)

Cofunds

£6.7bn

 

Hargreaves Lansdown (est)*

£1.9bn

Fidelity

£3.3bn

Standard Life (est)*

£1.6bn

Hargreaves Lansdown (est)*

£2.9bn

 

Aviva

£1.5bn

Standard Life (est)*

£2.5bn

 

AJ Bell (est)*

£1.5bn

Old Mutual

£2.5bn

 

Aegon

£1.4bn

The problems some Aviva clients have experienced recently have not made a dent in Aviva's assets to date, but Bella Caridade-Ferreira, author of the research said, any negative impact will most likely be felt in the coming quarters.

Old Mutual and AJ Bell each added £1.2bn of net sales during the quarter, with Transact adding £1.1bn.

Ms Caridade-Ferreira said: "The first quarter was soft going for fund groups, but platforms are cushioned from the worst — assets may have shifted into cash or defensive funds, but they tend to stay on platform.

"It is a different story with new investments, however. As pensions are long-term investments, they attracted strong flows, but Isa sales and other shorter-term investments were sluggish.

"2018 will be a softer year than 2017, although flows will be more robust than earlier years. The feverish demand for pension freedom transfers is likely to begin to wane because of falling transfer values and far greater regulatory scrutiny.

"Brexit, FCA studies and the global outlook suggest it will be a bumpier ride this year."

david.thorpe@ft.com