Platform inflows in the first quarter of this year have hit levels not seen since 2018, when DB transfers and pension freedoms boomed, according to the lang cat.
In the first three months of the year advised net flows reached £9.4bn, up 32 per cent on Q4 last year and 34 per cent on the same period last year.
The last time flows reached this level was Q2 2018, when pension transfers boomed, according to the lang cat.
On gross inflows four platforms broke the £2bn mark in the period, with total flows reaching £21.2bn, up 28 per cent on the last quarter in 2020 and 18 per cent on Q1 2020.
The lang cat said this was the first time any platform saw gross inflows of £2bn since Q3 2018. The last time four platforms hit this milestone in a quarter was 2017, it added.
The inflows saw advised assets under administration soar to £514bn, an increase of 4 per cent on Q4 2020 and 30 per cent on Q1 last year.
However, the large increase compared to Q1 2020 can be attributed to the market dip at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent rally over the course of the year, with the main indexes all up by around 4-5 per cent.
Mark Polson, principal at the lang cat, said: “It wasn’t so long ago we were writing about advised AUA breaking the £400bn barrier and now, having pushed through the £500bn mark, there are no signs of things slowing.
“The increases seen over Q1 puts advised gross flows back up to where they were in Q1/Q2 2018 towards the end of the pension freedoms and DB transfer boom."
The provider that saw the highest gross inflows was Old Mutual Wealth, seeing £2.26bn and net inflows of £1bn. Transact had gross inflows of £2.16bn and the highest net inflows at £1.47bn, and Aviva saw gross inflows of £2bn and net inflows of £1.45bn.
Standard Life Wrap/Elevate had the highest AUA in the first quarter, at just under £70bn. Old Mutual Wealth had £66bn and Transact recorded £47bn.
Polson added: “It remains to be seen whether this momentum will continue or if the bumper tax year end was a result of investors holding back until the country starts to open up following a year of lockdowns.
“The sector will certainly be hoping that the good times are here to stay and while Q2 might not hit the same heights, there were signs of an acceleration even pre-Covid, so we’re feeling bullish about the year ahead as we move past the pandemic.”
Advised channel net inflow Q1 2021
Old Mutual Wealth
AJ Bell Investcentre