Counter-intuitive trends in adviser platform usage and adoption – report reveals
Research to be published on February 25th will show for the first time the combination of platforms advisers are using and will reveal counter-intuitive trends.
The findings form part of a wide reaching quarterly survey of the platform market called The (plat)Form Guide, compiled and researched by independent industry consultants The Platforum.
Using adviser adoption and usage data from Touchstone and Unbiased.co.uk, The Platforum has been able to produce the broadest and most up-to-date picture of how advisers are using platforms, not just the number of platforms, but the combinations too. The research has been drawn from over 900 adviser reviews of platforms, 550 adviser firms and 64 in-depth adviser interviews.
By far the most common combination of platforms used is a Skandia, Fidelity and Cofunds mix. The next most common combination is two out of these and a newer wrap proposition, most often Transact. Cofunds and Transact, as well as Skandia and 7IM are the most common combinations revealed.
The smaller brand platforms are most likely to be used by advisers as their sole platform choice while the opposite is true for the life company brand wraps. Standard Life and Elevate advisers are more likely to play the field, citing fears over independence and lack of contact with senior directors and strategy.
A further finding is that advisers using just one platform are significantly happier about the service and functionality than advisers using, two, three and more. Customer service was rated very good, or good, by 82% of advisers using just one platform and only 39% with advisers using three or more platforms.
The Platforum managing director Holly Mackay says of the findings: “It is one thing to understand how many platforms advisers are using, but given that we know most are using three, we wanted to find out which combinations they are using. Skandia, Fidelity and Cofunds have the most users as one would suspect – they are the oldest propositions. They also have the most promiscuous users. By far the most common combination of platforms used is a Skandia, Fidelity and Cofunds mix. Interestingly, the next most common combination is two out of these and a newer wrap proposition, most often Transact. Ascentric and Nucleus users tend to be more decisive and committed.
“One of the more interesting trends we identified is one that at first appears counter-intuitive and that is that the smaller brand platforms are most likely to be used by advisers as their sole platform choice while the opposite is true for the life company brand wraps. IFA platform adoption patterns do not support what one might think was a logical conclusion, namely an increased fear of putting ‘all your eggs into one basket’ with a smaller platform. Our research showed that it is actually the advisers using life company platforms who feel a greater need to spread the risk.”