Each year, FTAdviser’s Top 100 Financial Advisers list sets out to showcase some of the best financial advisory businesses working in the UK.
For the past five years, the list has been based purely on gross sales using data from our research partner Strategic Insight, formerly known as Matrix Data.
However, this year marks a new dawn for FTAdviser’s Top 100 Financial Advisers list as we have made significant changes to the methodology we use to rank businesses and based it on a greater volume of data received from Strategic Insight about these companies.
To be clear, this is not meant to be seen as a competitive ranking.
Trying to rank the industry’s top advisers from one to 100 would be a futile exercise, since each takes different approaches to their practice and has different specialisations.
This list instead aims to deliver an overview of some of the best intermediaries who are juggling the challenges presented by clients fearful of what Brexit will mean for their portfolios, while at the same time trying to make sure pension pots deliver a decent retirement.
Change at the top
The improved methodology and wider data set produced by our research partner Strategic Insight this year has seen some familiar names change position in the list, however.
If the list was still based on sales alone, St James’s Place would be at the number one spot for the fourth consecutive year, with £97bn of assets under management invested in retail investment funds as of June 2018.
Instead, St James’s Place is in 20th position on this year’s Top 100 Financial Advisers list, while Tenet is in the top spot.
This movement is because this year FTAdviser’s Top 100 Financial Advisers list places significant weighting on net flows. Net flows account for an average of 23 per cent of each business’ score.
Despite St James’s Place having gross flows of £15bn this year, according to data from Strategic Insight, net flows were £9.5bn.
SJP was not available for comment on the difference between gross and net flows.
New factors in the methodology for the list have affected the rankings of other companies too.
Another company whose ranking changed this year due to net flow data from our research partner Strategic Insight was Quilter, which saw net flows of £3.5bn this year, similar to the £3.8bn recorded last year, but had gross flows of £10.3bn.
Openwork also came in at number 70 after previously being in the top 10 for the past three years due to net flows of £770m against gross flows of £2.8bn.
When asked to comment on the difference between gross and net flows, an Openwork spokesman said: “We don’t recognise the numbers used in this calculation. Openwork net sales in 2017 between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 were £1.48bn, rather than the £770m figure that appeared as part of our ranking entry.”