Platforms under fire for out of date information

Platforms under fire for out of date information

The platform industry has been criticised for failing to provide up-to-date information in order to help advisers assess whether a platform is suitable for their clients.

Tony Catt, compliance consultant at TC Compliance, assembled a report looking at 19 adviser platforms, taking into account the results of 3,661 platform service questionnaires completed by advisers over the past two years.

In a summary of his findings, Mr Catt stated: “The main issue of researching platforms is getting up-to-date information about all of the platforms. 

“Some of the platforms, such as True Potential and Fusion, do not seem to be keen to provide up-to-date information.” 

However, a spokesman for True Potential told FTAdviser it was “untrue and misleading” to say the platform doesn’t provide up-to-date information. 

“In fact we work very closely with the Financial Conduct Authority and advisers who are considering using our exclusive services to make sure all our information is robust and up-to-date.”

The spokesman also said True Potential’s funds, technology and platform are unique in the market, adding: “They cannot be fairly judged against others on comparison sites, so we choose not to use them.”  

Fusion declined to comment on Mr Catt's findings.

Mr Catt said failing to provide up-to-date information means platforms might no longer be the most suitable for an adviser's clients because, for example, another platform might have changed their charging structure or introduced extra facilities that make it a better choice.

"It is an extremely competitive market and developments and enhancements are added all the time," he said, adding however, it might only become a problem if the platform being used is proven to no longer be competitive.

"It may not necessarily be about charges or facilities, but the platform service may improve or deteriorate. This is more intangible, but it could be a valid reason for a platform to be considered as more or less suitable to the clients."

While IFA firms are increasingly using platforms, the Financial Conduct Authority has been clamping down on advice firms to ensure they regularly carry out due diligence to ensure that their chosen platform is the most suitable for their client base.  

Back in 2015, the financial regulator expressed concern that advisers were using just one platform.

Bill Vasilieff, chief executive of Novia Financial, said his platform has a team tasked with providing due diligence information, adding: “The only thing we don’t like to give too much information on is cyber security.”

“We are very open and don’t have anything to hide,” he said, adding he has never heard of issues with platforms failing to provide up-to-date information before. 

But Mr Vasilieff said this process could be improved if the entire industry adopted a standard due diligence pack, adding it was “slightly frustrating” that each advice firm had different due diligence requests in different formats.

“It’s quite an overhead but it is something you’ve got to do.”