Planners enjoy choice of platform

Australian financial planners have never enjoyed higher levels of choice with respect to the platforms they use and are switching or adding providers where they see the opportunity to deliver value to clients, according to the latest research from Investment Trends.

The research has revealed that BT Wrap and Colonial FirstChoice and Macquarie Wrap continue to be the most-used platforms but also points to Netwealth and HUB24 grabbing the laurels when it comes to client satisfaction.

According to Investment Trends Head of Research for Wealth Management, Recep Peker financial planners have never before enjoyed more freedom of platform choice.

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"Three quarters of planners now say they have full or some degree of freedom when choosing platform providers, up from 70 per cent saying so in 2014 and 64 per cent in 2013," he said.

"Financial planners have been seeking increased flexibility with product choice since the Future of Financial Advice Reforms (FOFA) and many are now achieving that freedom," Peker said while suggesting that this represented both a threat and an opportunity for platform providers, as those who best addressed planners' needs would win their business."

He said planners were using their increased freedom in platform choice to adopt a 1+1 approach to platform usage.

"Planners are favouring an efficient two-platform solution that can provide them with everything they need to service their clients," Peker said.

"Planners see the strengths of the established platforms to be lowering costs and increasing practice efficiency, which were essential ingredients in the pre-FoFA way of doing business," he said. "In contrast, the success of up-and-comers such as North, HUB24 and netwealth in capturing a greater share of new relationships are partly driven by their ability to help users deliver value to clients."

The Investment Trends research found BT Wrap and CFS FirstChoice were the two most-used platforms by number of primary planner relationships, with 16 per cent using each respective platform the most for new client inflows while Macquarie Wrap, North and Asgard eWRAP were neck and neck for third spot.

It said that, in contrast, netwealth led the platform industry in terms of overall adviser satisfaction, followed closely by HUB24, with CFS FirstChoice and Macquarie Wrap tied for third spot.



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