Leading planners now use 10 criteria or more when selecting a platform, with many operating a multi-platform approach, choosing the right platform for individual clients.
Some planners says with intense competition in the platform sector over the past few years and increased commoditisation costs and charges have become similar across many platforms.
With platform sales and mergers common, other criteria has also become more used when selecting platforms such as financial strength, long term reputation, profitability and independence.
The five page Platform Report includes contributions and comment from leading Financial Planners as well as platform experts from the Lang Cat, Defaqto and Fundscape.
It includes analysis and predictions about the future and shape of the platform sector.
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Certified Financial Planner Mike Stafford of Stafford Wealth said he used Adviser Assist, a platform analysis programme, to help select the right platform for a client.
He said: “Our main selection criteria are: value for money, service standards and range of products.
“We currently have client assets on seven platforms for various historical reasons.”
Chartered Financial Planner John Rook of Kench & Co, uses at least 10 criteria to assess platforms.
The four most important to him are: the platform must be well established in the UK (more than 15 years), it must be financially secure (a credit rating by AKG of B or above); it must have long term profitability and also have full independence and ownership away from retail insurers and investment groups.
He added: “For me when looking at the giving of Financial Planning advice, I see the use of a platform as facilitating our proposition not defining, limiting or distorting it.”
Chartered Financial Planner Gemma Siddle of Eldon Financial Planning said: “We need to know the client can access an appropriate investment selection for their circumstances, ideally at the lowest cost possible but balancing this with the quality of servicing required.
“A client with a need for crystallisation and variable income through drawdown is potentially much more at risk from poor admin than a young person who has monthly saving into a pension planned for the next 30 years. Trusting a platform to do right by the client is key for us.”
Philip Wise, a Chartered Financial Planner and retirement income planning director at Informed Choice, added: “We look for long-term financial stability and like to understand the platform’s business strategy, including ownership of the business and what their plans are. We also look at access to capital. It’s no secret that platforms are expensive to run and require a huge amount of capital investment.”
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