BDMs key to platform choice

While financial advisers are focusing more on functionality to decide on what platform to use, the real reason why a platform is chosen is the business development manager (BDM), according to a panel.

Speaking at Money Management’s Fintech, Platforms, and Wraps conference on Thursday, a dealer group panel alluded to recent Investment Trends’ research that found 74 per cent of advisers were open to switching their primary platform in pursuit of either lower platform fees or a wider platform feature set.

Fortnum Financial Advisers managing director and group chief executive, Neil Younger, said there was a convergence of price and not any significant platform price outliers and that advisers were focusing on whether a platform suited their functionality.

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“Advisers are focusing more on the functionality and whether it suits the type of value proposition they have for their clients and services they want to deliver. Functionality more of a driver to that change,” Younger said.

“We’ve tried to quantify previously but what is the value of the price differential from platform to platform and how do you put a value on their service proposition?”’

“Challenging for advisers when they have a best interest obligation to quantify price when it’s the functionality they want.”

For GPS Wealth managing director, Grahame Evans, the real reason why dealer groups chose a platform was because of the BDMs.

“If I look at the people that deal across HUB24 and Netwealth and who chooses who – whilst they’re pricing a range of various things, the reality is if we look at them the reason why they choose a platform over the other is the relationship with the BDM,” he said.

“To change a platform, they’d have to be really peed off about something to really make a change. You’ve got to remember it’s embedded into their practice and how the practice operates, the processes, the review mechanism – it’s a big decision to move off a platform. We’re going with technology at the moment and at the moment the BDM plays a big part.”

Also on the panel, Madison Financial Group CEO, Annick Donat noted that switching platforms was almost impossible.

 “I think you would find that it’s hard to change platforms and it would have to be something that makes them really really angry,” Donat said.

Centrepoint Alliance managing director, John de Zwart, noted that a platform change would not be because of advice reasons but rather other reasons within the business such as bad office or a chance for simplification.


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