Investments  

New business on platforms at lowest level in 7 years

New business on platforms at lowest level in 7 years

Investor caution saw platforms attract the lowest level of net inflows in seven years in the second quarter of 2019. 

The data, compiled by consultancy Fundscape and covering the three months to June 30, showed that UK retail platforms collectively attracted net assets of £6.6bn in the period, the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2012. 

Bella Caridade-Ferreira, director at Fundscape, blamed Brexit uncertainty for the "dire" figures.

She said whereas the final quarter of 2012 had been a particularly dark period for the platform industry, as the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) was about to come into force, this time round investors were spooked by the economic climate.

She said: “These are dire figures, but it was hardly surprising that investors sat on the fence. Messages were mixed. UK economic activity increased in the first three months of the year due to pre-Brexit stockpiling.

"Stock markets continued to rise, the London Stock Exchange doing particularly well thanks to sterling's decline. But fears of a no-deal Brexit, frightened investors and kept them away in their droves.”

The data showed that Hargreaves Lansdown had the most assets of any UK platform, at £99.3bn, with asset growth of £13.8bn in the year to June. 

Aegon was the largest adviser platform, in terms of assets under administration, at £91.1bn, and growth of £5.1bn in that 12-month period.

The growth figures include both net inflows and the impact of market movements. Total UK platform assets rose by £31bn during the quarter.  

Separate data published by the Lang Cat yesterday showed advised platform assets under administration in the UK grew 4.46 per cent in the second quarter of the year, but netflows were down 1.76 per cent at £5.2bn.

In its most recent set of results, covering the full year to June 30, Aegon reported net outflows of £2.6bn as past replatforming issues came to haunt the provider.

The company's chief executive Adrian Grace told FTAdviser he thought there were too many platforms in the market at present, and that he expects the market to shrink down to five large players and a small number of boutiques. 

His comments came on the same day that Octopus announced its intention to launch a mass market platform as it acquired technology provider Seccl. 

TOP 5 PLATFORMS (all channels)BY GROSS SALES Q219 (£bn)

 

TOP 5 PLATFORMS (all channels)BY NET SALES Q219 (£bn)

Aegon (formerly Cofunds)

£6.9bn

 

Hargreaves Lansdown2

£1.8bn

Fidelity

£3.9bn

Aegon

£1.4bn

Hargreaves Lansdown2

£3.6bn

 

AJ Bell

£1.2bn

Aegon

£2.3bn

 

Aviva

£827m

Standard Life3

£1.7bn

 

Transact

£796m

TOP 5 RETAIL ADVISER PLATFORMS BY GROSS SALES Q219

 

TOP 5 RETAIL ADVISER PLATFORMS BY NET SALES Q219

Standard Life3

£1.7bn

 

Transact

£796m

Old Mutual Wealth

£1.4bn

Aviva

£767m

Transact

£1.4bn

 

AJ Bell

£700m

Fidelity

£1.3bn

 

Standard Life3

£511m

Aviva

£1.3bn

 

True Potential

£381m

Ms Caridade Ferreira said: “Transact continues to lead the field for retail advised net sales thanks to its independence and financial strength now that it’s publicly listed. These are also factors that underpin AJ Bell and True Potential in third and fifth place. Despite its well-documented re-platforming problems, Aviva’s flows are robust but flows have nearly halved compared to its DB-fattened flows of 2017 and 2018.” 

david.thorpe@ft.com