Kingswood boss ‘open’ to white-label platform opportunities

Kingswood boss ‘open’ to white-label platform opportunities
Kingswood’s chief executive, David Lawrence

Kingswood’s chief executive has said he is “open-minded” to white-label platform opportunities and suggested the consolidator may look at culling its current list of providers.

Traditionally, the national IFA has touted itself as ‘platform agnostic’ which allays a “primary anxiety” held by those advice firms Kingswood buys, that they might have to migrate their clients to new platforms as part of the sale process.

While this stance - a fund rather than a platform switch - remains unchanged, David Lawarence told FTAdviser he is “open-minded” to an alternative approach.

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He said recent activities in the market - such as Fairstone’s deal with FNZ and Ascot Lloyd’s tie-up with Hubwise as well as newer entrants’ offerings - “may create opportunities for Kingswood”.

Lawrence thinks the established platform providers are investing “very heavily” in their service to add more value for advice firms with more complex requirements.

“There are also a number of newer entrants keen to take market share and those may create opportunities for Kingswood,” Lawrence added.

“We’re not consciously changing our strategy today, but we’re very open-minded in terms of looking for opportunities like the ones reported about our competitors.

“There are clear movements in the platform space as linked to financial advice firms.”

If Kingswood had one platform, this would bring efficiency, Lawrence admitted. 

“But it would need a lot of depth, and only some of the largest platforms can do that today,” he added.

“I’m very open-minded, in terms of having one exclusive platform versus a tighter list of platforms. What I don’t want to do is make my own platform for Kingswood. Anything we would do, we would work with current platforms on a white-label solution.

“I don’t have an appetite to create a platform. I think platform, custody, is a very specialist activity and there’s lots of providers to partner with rather than try and create it ourselves.”

Earlier this week (November 7), investment platform director at Altus, Chris McCullam, said the trend in platforms transferring their employees to tech providers like FNZ will accelerate the growth of adviser white-labelling and ‘adviser as platform’ solutions.

He said firms like FNZ will build the operational scale to service more and more customers – especially as they acquire other business to fill gaps in their capability or meet specific client/product demand.

To date, FNZ has absorbed nearly 900 platform staff across its clients Abrdn and Nucleus.

Much like some of the platform and technology providers, Kingswood is also investing “incredibly heavily” in its technology according to Lawrence. 

The consolidator launched its Kingswood Go app last month with MoneyInfo, which allows the IFA to pull in feeds from multiple platforms.