Exploring the platform market for HNW clients

29 August 2023
| By Laura Dew |
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Platforms are opting to differentiate themselves based on specialisations, according to Recep Peker, as he launches a platform research service.

Peker, who formerly worked as head of research at Investment Trends, has launched a research software called SuitabilityHub.

He discussed with Money Management how the platform market has developed over the last few years. Earlier this week, HUB24 said it is targeting $100 billion in funds under administration on its platform.

Peker said Australian platforms are “world class” as almost all offer full functionalities for their users. This means they are now seeking to find other ways to stand out in a crowded market.

“In the US, you might have one solution for custody and another for reporting that has to be plugged in, whereas in Australia our platforms can do everything very well and they are fully functioning,” he said.

“There are those that want a greater share of advisers’ wallets and there are others that want to streamline the process and focus their help on specific segments such as high net worth or retirees.”

The high net worth (HNW) space is particularly topical, he said, as advisers move away from smaller clients and towards wealthier ones. As the cost to provide financial advice has increased, so has the wealth of potential clients. 

“The end adviser more and more is serving a HNW client base, and what worked for them as IFAs previously won’t work for them for wealthier clients, and platforms are increasingly focusing on that.

“It is not only about platform functionality; most of them are fully functioning already. It is about finding the right platform that meets the needs of your clients and your business.”

Those focusing on the HNW space are also strengthening their ability to capture data and report on clients’ off-platform assets. Although they may be more expensive, Peker said these could be justified if it was the adviser’s client base by the reduced manual administrative work and benefits of HNW clients seeing their assets all in one place. 

He highlighted Netwealth and Mason Stevens as being two platforms that are good for financial advisers focused on the HNW space, whereas AMP North and Macquarie are good for retiree clients.

Peker’s platform research service, SuitabilityHub, helps advisers to select the right platform for them. Platforms, he said, are where he sees the biggest gap in the research market and where he can help underserved needs. 

This is particularly helpful for those advisers who are moving away from a licensee to set up on their own and having to select their own platform for the first time. 

The SuitabilityHub service has a three-step process allowing advisers to shortlist platforms based on factors such as fee analysis, governance, client values and ESG.

He said: “Platform research can be long and arduous; licensees have the time but not IFAs. It is out of their reach beyond due diligence so we wanted to make it more streamlined.

“We expect the first time they use it will take an hour or two as they select their criteria, but after that they can save the selections in a template, which means it takes 10–15 minutes when they use it again. It depends how meticulous they want to be.”

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