// Blog

30 May 2017 Spring has sprung…

...and hope springs eternal

We ran the spring sentiment survey in the last week of April (we waited until after the first round of the French presidential election on 23rd April) until mid May. In all, there were 84 responses. Fund groups represented 62%, platforms 25% and distributors 13%. The audience was mainly British (77% ) and the rest cross-border. Economic recovery has been gaining ground in the UK, Europe and the US. Despite geopolitical uncertainty, investor sentiment improved, optimism was in the air and there was a strong uptick in business volumes. However, caution underpinned everything. The open comments were more restrained and measured than the answers given to multiple-choice questions. This reflects sales patterns since the start of the year. Though Q117 is one of the best on record, there has been a particularly heavy allocation to fixed income. In summary, over the next 12-18 months fee pressure, crumbling margins and the rise of passive/robo loom very large on the horizon. As does a very expensive MiFID2 exercise.
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15 Feb 2017 Investment platform industry highlights

We're in an extended lockdown phase as several platform clients will not be reporting their results to the stock exchange until March. That's a pretty long wait so here are a few investment platform industry highlights to keep you going until the Fundscape Platform Report is issued. 
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15 Feb 2017 The Great British Wealth Off

The press is awash with stories and articles about the pros and cons of passive and active investment, active advice and robo advice, fees and the like. The often wild claims (fake news??) give investors unrealistic ideas about long-term investments and make it difficult for them to make informed choices. To help investors understand the ins and outs of different investments through different channels, the cost implications of different channels and methods and the impact on their overall investment, we are running a unique experiment for a year — The Great British Wealth Off on comparetheplatform.com. Click here to find out...

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02 Feb 2017 The year ahead – January sentiment survey

The Trump effect
  • We ran the sentiment survey in the second and third week of January. By this point, Trump’s shock election as president of the US was beginning to sink in, but he had yet to take office. The run-up to his inauguration and cabinet/adviser appointments were front-page news.
  • In all, we there were 82 responses to the survey. Fund groups represented 67%, platforms 31% and distributors 2%.
  • The audience was mainly British with 78% of respondents defining themselves as UK-based and the rest cross-border or international.
  • Interestingly, there was a significant dichotomy between the positive expectations for 2017 (answers to the multiple choice questions) and the pessimistic concerns voiced in the open questions.
  • Overwhelmingly, the geopolitical environment and specifically Brexit, Trump and forthcoming elections in Europe were the main concern.
  • At the time of writing, the fixed income rotation into equity was in full swing and stock-market indices had hit all-time highs.
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09 Jan 2017 Five-year platform projections to 2021

Each year we provide five-year platform projections and look at the main drivers of growth and change, and their significance for different stakeholders. KEY TRENDS The world is literally changing before our eyes. The nationalistic mood sweeping through global politics is re-setting government policy globally and there is a similar mindset shift sweeping through financial services. Whether fund managers and platforms like it or not, in this low-growth world the old way of doing business is no longer viable or sustainable and investors are no longer willing to subsidise it.  That means increased focus on the cost of investment solutions and their...

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24 Nov 2016 Two don’t become one

Standard Life has confirmed that the Elevate platform will continue as a discrete platform proposition and will not be merged into the Standard Life one.  Advisers will be pleased as punch. And relieved.
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17 Oct 2016 Small fry and big fish

It’s beginning to look like a trend. First we had the tiny Aegon platform making a play for the massive Cofunds platform, and last week it was announced that Interactive Investor is to buy TD Direct, TD Bank’s European direct business.
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12 Oct 2016 The future is orange

When RDR became reality and the advice gap widened, it was only a question of time before a FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) or a traditional supermarket chain like Tesco, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s disrupted the financial services market with their client knowledge and big data.
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19 Sep 2016 Gatekeepers — it’s been a year!

Gatekeepers.  That word strikes fear into many fund managers' hearts and rightly so. These are the people who increasingly influence and direct the volume of sales in the UK, and if a fund group isn't on their radar it's potentially missng out on some sizeable assets. The problem becomes even more acute when the investment outlook is stormy and investors are taking shelter. The Gatekeepers analysis by Fundscape and GBi2 was designed to shed  light on this murky world and help fund groups understand and pinpoint available opportunities. But it was also designed to help advisers and investors make sure  they work with gatekeepers who are actually making a demonstrable difference to investor outcomes.
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30 Aug 2016 How was it for you?

There was a visceral reaction to the Brexit vote in July. Respondents were negative... but much more positive about the second half of the year. 
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11 Aug 2016 So you wanna be a contender?

So after months of speculation, Aegon finally announced that it is acquiring the Cofunds platform for £140m. The mood at Witham is understandably elated, much to L&G’s amazement. To be blunt though, when you’ve hit rock bottom the only way is up.  The team is ecstatic to be joining a parent that actually wants to be a major player in the platform game and hopes the days of operating on a shoestring are finally over.
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