Platforms  

Platforms see record 2021 as assets grow 19%

Platforms see record 2021 as assets grow 19%

Platform assets “broke every record going” in 2021 growing by 19 per cent, according to data from Fundscape.

Figures from Fundscape showed platform assets reached £933bn in 2021, aided by global stock markets recovering from pre-pandemic levels. 

Of the £933bn reported, retail advised platforms took approximately £581bn, contributing 62 per cent to the total. 

Gross and net flows also jumped to new highs with “eye-watering increases” of £164bn and £69bn, a rise of 29 per cent and 92 per cent respectively. 

Fundscape said although stock markets had been strong and investors remained optimistic, the UK had been “battered by some persistent economic headwinds” such as fuel, labour shortages and inflation. 

Bella Caridade-Ferreira, chief executive officer at Fundscape, said: “Against all odds, the platform industry was home to its best annual sales in 2021. Despite the pandemic, 2020 turned out to be a good year for retail wealth management. However, 2021 was a fantastic one…despite rampant inflation and the uncertain economic and political outlooks weighing on investor sentiment.

“Those factors could take their toll in 2022, but with inflation and interest rates starting to climb aggressively and retail banks showing no sign of passing on interest rate rises to savers, we expect investors to double-down on their investing efforts.”

Source: Fundscape

Analysis by the consultancy also showed that while the first half of the year is usually the best thanks to the ISA season, the platform industry broke new records in the final quarter of the year with gross flows of £46bn and net flows of £24bn.

Caridade-Ferreira added: “The ISA season will set the tone for the rest of the year. While it’s unlikely to match 2021’s sales figures, it’s going to be a robust 2022.”

Fundscape said the success of the platform industry demonstrated by these latest figures had resulted in investment from private equity in recent years. 

Last year saw a flurry of activity in the space as AnaCap bought Novia and Wealthtime, James Hay's owner Epiris bought Nucleus, and Preservation Capital Partners bought Parmenion.

Asset manager Abrdn has also been in talks to buy DIY investment platform Interactive Investor in a deal estimated to be worth £1.5bn.

A total of 19 platforms were included in the analysis, with platform coverage estimated at 98 per cent of the platform universe. 

The firm said it was unable to publish individual platform data until the last publicly listed platform reported its results on March 9. 

This follows on from the second quarter last year where assets held on platforms saw “Olympic-style proportions"

Figures from Fundscape at the time showed platform assets under management hit £865.8bn, up 6.5 per cent.

True Potential, the vertically integrated advice and platform business, rose to the top of the net sales table at £1.4bn for the quarter, while Transact came in close second at £1.3bn.

sonia.rach@ft.com

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