According to the latest Adviser Barometer research from Aviva, in the final quarter before the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) is implemented in January 2013, over a third of advisers (34%) say they are contemplating changing their main platform in the next 12 months.
Cost and choice of funds
Of those advisers who say they are definitely changing platform, cost and investment scope are the most cited reasons for making the switch. In fact, choice of funds under management is the second most influential factor for selecting a platform, mentioned by about half of respondents. However, although cost may be the main reason that some advisers are switching platforms, it does not come high on the list of reasons for initially selecting a platform, with just 7% referring to cost in their selection process.
The top factors influencing the selection of a platform are: functionality of online services (70%), followed by choice of funds under management (49%), research capabilities (42%), compliance and risk management support (39%) and integration with back office systems (36%).
Decisions vary by firm size
The Barometer found that larger firms are more likely than smaller firms to consider switching their main platform in the next 12 months. 11% of respondents from firms with more than 25 advisers will definitely change their platform and another 26% are considering it compared to just 3% of sole traders who say they are definitely switching and another 28% considering it.
There is also difference in the reasons behind platform selection. Sole traders place greater emphasis on research capabilities, compliance and risk management support and the brand of the platform. Respondents from large firms point to functionality of online services and integration with back office systems.
Andy Beswick, intermediary director at Aviva, says
“A lot of advisers have already looked at, and refined, their business models and client propositions in light of RDR, so it isn’t surprising that a large number of them are considering new platforms based on a new set of requirements and expectations from their clients.
“Advisers know what they need from platforms and have their own individual priorities. What’s important is that platform providers understand that these needs and priorities are not universal. Advisers from different sized firms have different expectations, which must be met if they are to stay with a platform.
“It’s unlikely a single platform will meet the needs for all clients or all advisers, providers will therefore need to be clear about what they stand for and back this up with appropriate propositions.”
Aviva offers a range of RDR support for advisers. For more information and to see video clips from the RDR Barometer roundtable event, please visit www.aviva.co.uk/adviser/rdr