THERE MAY BE PROBLEMS AHEAD…
By the end of March 2019, stock markets had recovered from the severe whipping they’d received in the last quarter of 2018. All major markets were home to stellar growth, with even the FTSE All Share rising by 8.3% despite Brexit concerns. The upturn pushed UK platform assets up 7.3% to £637bn, a vast improvement on Q418, but only £4bn higher than Q318’s closing balance of £633bn. Hargreaves Lansdown, D2C platform and the UK’s largest distributor, moved into pole position as the UK’s largest investment platform.
It’s been a tough year for fund groups and platforms alike with Brexit and other worries cooling the markets. Initially, platforms were cushioned from the worst by ongoing DB transfer business, but by the second half of the year that business was also drying up. Year-on-year asset growth was a meagre 4%, while gross and net sales have plummeted. The economics are relatively unchanged, but investors have been spooked by Brexit and US-China trade wars.
For full press release click here.
The PLATFORM INDUSTRY is in extended lockdown phase as several companies will be reporting their full-year results between now and 15th March 2019. We’re unable to provide individual platform data until the last PLC has reported its results to the stock market. As a result, this is the first of two press releases for Q418/2018 platform data.
Fundscape is pleased to announce the appointment of Gavin Fielding as Editorial Director as of November 2018. Gavin (Gav) joins Fundscape after a 27-year career at Aviva where he developed, researched and wrote about investments. His last position was that of Investment Research Manager for the Strategic Partnership division. Gavin will continue to be based in York and will be Fundscape’s representative in the North.
In July the UK government finally agreed an exit strategy with the EU and the outlook began to look rosier. But as the quarter wore on, resignations and vocal criticism abounded dampening investor sentiment and sending stock markets into the red — the FTSE 100 and the FTSE All Share indices fell by 1.8% in the quarter. Download the release here.
The UK fund industry is the largest domestic and most dynamic fund market in Europe with assets of £1.2trn (June 2018). Fund groups from all over the world arrive in the UK to sell their funds, but find it difficult to gain a foothold. On the surface the distribution opportunities seem substantial, but the landscape is complex, multi-layered and advice-driven and fund groups will need multi-channel strategy to succeed.
After significant falls in Q1, stock markets began to level out at the end of March... just in time for the last two weeks of the ISA season. By the close of Q218, the UK stock market had recovered most of its lost ground, with the FTSE 100 and FTSE All Share rebounding by 8% and performing better than most major stock markets in Q2.
Stock markets corrected in the first quarter of the year, leaving the FTSE 100 and All-Share indices down by circa 8%. The beast from the East in March also froze any latent investor interest. As a result, platform assets fell from last quarter’s £592bn to £569bn at end March. However, not all of it was market related. Having sold its workplace platform to Scottish Widows, Zurich’s assets shrank to £8.7bn from its Q417 total of £28.8bn, accounting for the majority of the industry’s fall. On a like‐for‐like basis, Zurich’s assets grew marginally, earning it a place in the top five for the quarter. In Q118 we also welcomed the Hubwise and Embark platforms to the fold, who added c£4bn to industry assets.
Download full Q118 platform press release here.
For stock market results reasons, we published headline figures only for the PLATORM INDUSTRY in February 2018. Now that all platforms have released their results, we can reveal the leading platforms for 2017.
The PLATFORM INDUSTRY is in extended lockdown phase because several platforms will not report their full-year results to the stock market until mid-March, a full month after the usual scheduled publication date of the Fundscape Platform Report. As a result, Fundscape is releasing headline figures and industry highlights for 2017. The full report will be released in March once all PLC-owned platforms have published their results.
After an ISA-fuelled first half of the year, platform activity in the third quarter was more muted. The summer season is traditionally quieter and political and economic uncertainty was on the rise. However, the steady flow of pension money meant that platform business remained strong. Stock markets flat-lined in the quarter, but platform assets increased by £19bn (3.6%) to £560bn, nonetheless.