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Advisers see self-select websites as biggest threat to their businesses

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Self-select websites and direct investment platforms are regarded as the biggest threats to financial advisers, according to a poll carried out at the recent Intelliflo ‘Change the Game’ conference.

The conference, held in London on 4 June, was attended by over 200 financial advisers from across the UK and featured keynote presentations from Microsoft’s Chief Envisioning Officer, David Coplin and Intelliflo’s founder and Executive Chairman, Nick Eatock, as well as multiple special interest seminars.

During the panel debate, hosted by the broadcaster and journalist, Gavin Hewitt, advisers were asked to vote on three questions.

The first focused on what or who they regard poses the biggest threat to their businesses. Self-select websites attracted by far the most votes (65 per cent of the 138 advisers who voted), with direct investment platforms the second most voted for option (43 per cent). Third in the list was ‘general image of independent financial advice’ which got 29 per cent of the vote.

The second question focused on platform trail commission. The response (from 120 of the financial adviser delegates) showed a quarter (26 per cent) still have 20 per cent or more of their annual business turnover coming from platform trail commission, with one in eight of them (12 per cent) having more than 30 per cent of their turnover reliant on this soon-to-go revenue stream.

The third question asked if they had noticed any change in their clients’ long-term appetite for risk since 2008. The majority (44 per cent of the 123 advisers who voted) said their clients were more cautious initially but confidence has returned although one in five (22 per cent) said their clients remained more risk adverse. Around a third (34 per cent) said they had generally remained the same.

Eatock says: “The poll we carried out at the conference showed some interesting results. Clearly there is concern about the growth of self-select websites and platforms going direct to end customers but I hope the delegates took some comfort from the conference in knowing there are clear digital strategies they can employ that will give them the tools to compete against these threats.

“It was surprising to see that a significant number of the delegates still rely on platform trail commission and with the clock ticking on this it’s essential those firms act quickly to ensure they are not financially disadvantaged once that revenue is switched off.”

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