Author: Bella Caridade-Ferreira

A lot has happened in the world of platforms this week — most of it in Scotland. First there was the news that Standard Life Aberdeen is selling Parmenion, one of its three platforms. Hot on its heels was the announcement that its Edinburgh neighbour, Nucleus, had received offers for its entire share capital. Last but not least, Novia is reportedly changing hands before Christmas (OK, Novia is technically not Scottish but bear with us).

Hargreaves Lansdown published its interim results on Friday. Chris Hill, CEO, stated that the platform will be introducing changes to its research process with the aim of providing more detail and greater transparency. There will also be new functionality for customers who want a deeper, more autonomous dive into fund research.

The first day of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar Near Year, fell at the weekend on Saturday 25 January. It also heralded the start of the year of the Rat, the first in the 12-strong Chinese zodiac.

Alliance Trust was saved from a fate worse than death when it was sold to Interactive Investor, a D2C platform, last year. Ever since, the industry has been wondering whether Interactive Investor would move into the advised platform arena or stick to its knitting. The wondering is finally over as it was announced that Embark is buying the adviser platform.

Thank goodness someone has come along to save Neptune. It's been an unhappy ship for a long time and was crying out for a solid and reputable captain like Liontrust to set it back on the right course (warning: this is full of maritime metaphors).

Rumours abound that the Zurich Intermediary Platform (ZIP) is up for sale and Aegon is said to be first in line to snap up the platform.

We’re midway through the Fundscape Fantasy Fund League so here's a quick update on our teams are doing as at June 2019. To remind you, this experiment is about the Fundscape team gaining insight into fund selection, and learning about investments and the impact of market conditions in real time.

Over the last decade, a key feature of the retail investment landscape has been the industry’s development of risk-grading as a response to the suitability issue. How do advisers and their clients best ensure that the portfolio selected for them is most likely to produce the capital appreciation and income provision they expect, with the fewest surprises?  In other words, what is the risk that they don’t achieve their goals?  That risk has been distilled down to a single figure on a risk-scale derived from a portfolio’s expected standard deviation of returns, also known as volatility.

This week we meet Carrie de Carteret who has worked in the financial services industry for many years as a data architect and data modelling expert (in today's big data world she's in huge demand). Carrie has taken a logical and methodical approach to her fund selection, but will it pay off?

Gatekeepers tend to select single-strategy funds as building blocks in broader portfolios, so the presence of multi-asset funds on gatekeeper lists is usually to cater for one-stop shoppers on D2C platforms, for ISAs for example, or to satisfy the needs of smaller investments through advisers where they may be aimed (unfairly) at so-called less-sophisticated investors.