Annuities and income drawdown are the products advisers most want on platforms, according to research.
A CoreData Research study surveying nearly 1,000 financial advisers found a third of respondents (33.7 per cent) would most like to see annuity and income drawdown products on platforms. Full SIPPs and/or other complex pension products (cited by 25.5 per cent of respondents) and discretionary investment management services (17.3 per cent) complete the top three products or services advisers want on platforms.
“Income drawdown, in particular, has grown in popularity since the advent of pension freedoms,” says Craig Phillips, head of International, CoreData Research. “And with annuities, SIPPs and other complex pension products also featuring at the top of the platform product rankings, our research shows advisers attach a lot of importance on the ability of platforms to offer a range of retirement options.”
Phillips added that the desire for platforms to offer discretionary investment management services reflects growing adviser demand for outsourced solutions.
When it comes to the most important features of a platform for advisers, it is a three-horse race between platform and fund manager charges (32.8 per cent), simplicity and ease of use (28.6 per cent) and range of investments and tax wrappers (21.6 per cent).
The study also suggests the platform market is set for further expansion, with 15.3 per cent of advisers likely to add at least one more platform to their business over the next 12 months. The imminent expansion is expected to be accompanied by a rise in volumes, with a third (34.3 per cent) of advisers planning to increase business on their main platform over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, the increasingly important role played by platforms in the daily business of advisers is underscored by growing usage levels. About two-thirds (63.6 per cent) of advisers focused on mass affluent clients now use platforms on a daily basis. Nearly six in ten (58.6 per cent) advisers focused on the high net worth/ultra-high net worth market use platforms daily, while 42.9 per cent of advisers focused on mass market clients report daily usage.
The CoreData study further reveals that service (24.6 per cent), functionality (20.3 per cent) and reporting capability (16.8 per cent) are the top three satisfaction drivers on main platforms.
However, advisers are more satisfied with their main platform than secondary provider. About nine in ten (88.7 per cent) award their main platform a strong score in the satisfaction stakes, compared to just 67 per cent reporting strong satisfaction levels with their secondary platform.
“This satisfaction gap suggests advisers may consider other secondary platforms if their experience does not improve,” Phillips says.