Dealer group control of platforms slips

Financial advisers have more freedom to choose investment platforms now than in 2013, with licensee-mandated restrictions diminishing, a new report reveals.

The Investment Trends May 2014 Planner Technology Report – compiled off the back of a survey of 1,038 financial advisers – found that 35 per cent of respondents indicated they can choose and investment platform “from any provider they wish”, up from 28 per cent last year.

In addition, 29 per cent of respondents said “dealer group preference” determines their choice, down from 36 per cent in 2013, with Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker attributing the slight decrease to regulatory changes.

“Over the last few years, planners’ choice of platform had become more restricted, but following FOFA, and perhaps as a consequence of the introduction of the best interest duty, they now have increasing freedom,” Mr Peker said.

“With a quarter of planners saying they stopped investing new client flows via at least one platform, it’s evident that planners have used this increased freedom to change the mix of platforms they use.”

The report also found that platform satisfaction is at an all-time high, but Mr Peker warned that platform providers should not become complacent.

“Despite platform satisfaction hitting record levels, planners’ loyalty should not be taken for granted,” he said. “Eighteen per cent of planners who play some role in platform selection intend to look for a new or additional platform in the next 12 months.”

Netwealth was found to “lead the platform industry by adviser satisfaction”, followed by Colonial First State’s FirstChoice and FirstWrap products, while MLC MasterKey recorded the “largest increase in planner satisfaction” levels.

The changing distribution dynamics of the platform market will be a key topic at the upcoming Wraps, Platforms & Masterfunds conference in the Hunter Valley, NSW. For more information visit www.masterfundsconference.com.au

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