Adviser use of platforms booms

Adviser use of platforms booms
 Credits: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Financial advisers’ use of platforms is on the up as research has shown they are using platforms more frequently, have higher levels of satisfaction and are looking to do even more platform business.

Figures from CoreData Research, published today (August 26), showed all of the advisers it had polled now use platforms, up slightly from 99 per cent in 2019, while 68 per cent use them daily — up from 60 per cent last year.

The firm polled 1,000 UK advisers in May and June and found adviser platform use had boomed across all client wealth segments.

Some eight in 10 (79 per cent) high-net worth focused advisers used platforms daily, up from 73 per cent in 2019, while the proportion of mass market advisers working on platforms every day has boomed from 48 per cent to 63 per cent.

This is set to translate into rising platform flows. More than a third (35 per cent) of advisers said they intended to increase business on their main platform over the next 12 months. 

Strong usage numbers and higher expected flows come amid rising levels of platform satisfaction. 

The vast majority (92 per cent) of advisers said they were largely satisfied with their main platform — compared with 82 per cent last year — while fewer advisers (13 per cent compared with 19 per cent in 2019) planned to add new platforms to their business in the next 12 months.

Craig Phillips, head of international at CoreData Research, put the large increase down to the digital focus forced by the coronavirus crisis.

He said: “Platforms have not only weathered the Covid-19 crisis but have managed to build closer partnerships with advisers.

“The shift to digital-first offerings amid the crisis, coupled with the heightened need to support clients, has seen advisers gravitate toward platforms.”

Ben Hammond, platforms director at Altus Consulting, agreed. He said adviser use of platforms typically increased every year, but the recent, larger jumps “certainly point to Covid-10 as a driver”.

He added: “A number of recent platform upgrades and propositional enhancements would have certainly helped, such as Standard Life’s pension drawdown price lock or Nucleus’s enhanced MPS offering.”

Mr Hammond also said a number of platforms had fared well since lockdown in terms of service levels, noting advisers would see this as a big positive while it explained the increase in platform satisfaction.

The findings also showed annuities and income drawdown remained the most desired products on platforms, followed by full self-invested personal pensions.

Demand for discretionary fund managers has also increased, however. Nearly one in five advisers (18 per cent) pointed to DFMs as the service they wanted most on platforms, up from 11 per cent last year.

Advisers also have an increased appetite for exchange traded funds, now seen as the most desired product by 10 per cent of advisers compared with 7 per cent last year.

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