Owing to geopolitical uncertainty, the first quarter of 2014 was more volatile for investment growth, but platforms swam against the tide thanks to strong sales. In the first three months of the year, the stock market contracted by 3%. Platforms are inevitably affected by market movements, but instead of shrinking, total platform assets actually increased by 3.3% to £304bn over the quarter.
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Despite the pessimism that had permeated the industry before RDR was introduced, 2013 turned out to be an extraordinary year for platforms thanks to the convergence of steadily improving markets, a marked upturn in investor sentiment and the introduction of RDR. The net effect was that platform assets grew by £98bn in 2013, rising from £196bn at the end of 2012 to £294bn in 2013 — a growth rate of 50%.
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The summer period is usually one of the quieter quarters of the year, but an improving economic outlook and the ongoing effect of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) led to a bumper quarter for platforms. Total platform assets under administration were £267bn, up 7% in the second quarter, and comfortably ahead of FTSE All-Share growth of 5%.
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