11 Nov Lack of petrol & people drag on platforms in Q3 (plus projections to 2026)
After the heady growth and the robust ISA season of the first half of the year, the third quarter of the year was decidedly pedestrian. Stock markets flatlined as oil and labour shortages dragged on economies and depressed consumer sentiment. Despite this, UK platform assets rose by 2.7% to £891.5bn, while gross and net sales dropped back slightly on the previous quarter to £37.8bn and £13.7bn respectively.
The quarter’s numbers look better than they actually are — that’s because they have been inflated by Fidelity’s migration of LGIM’s direct book of business, which added around £4bn in assets, gross and net sales and propelled Fidelity to the top of the gross and net sales tables (all channels).
Direct business has exploded in recent times and will become a significant revenue stream in the future. That explains why D2C platforms like Fidelity are buying direct books of business and abrdn is in discussions to acquire the second largest D2C platform in the UK, interactive investor.
Advice as strong as ever
Acquisitions are fuelling growth and consolidation in every channel. During the third quarter, True Potential sold a majority stake to private equity house, Cinven, to enable it to continue its double-digit growth. True Potential has been snapping up advice firms and the migration of adviser assets to its platform has helped to put it at the top of the net sales table. Adviser platform sales may have trended down since the first quarter’s high, but 2021 is still on track for being the best year on record for the channel. The top three platforms are now routinely recording gross sales of £2bn+, and in the net sales arena, £1.3bn per quarter is the norm — business is sticky thanks to strong pension demand.
Bella Caridade-Ferreira, CEO of Fundscape said, ‘Despite the difficulties of the past two years, the retail wealth management industry is as strong as ever. Saving for retirement has been a big driver and there are no signs of that trend slowing down in the medium term. The first half of the year also benefited from an influx of cash that had been sitting on the sidelines since the start of the pandemic. The third quarter was quiet, but we’re confident that business activity will pick up again in the fourth.’
‘Private equity money is also investing heavily in various parts of the industry from platforms to advice firms and technology, enabling consolidation, and fuelling rapid growth and disruption. As a result, we expect platform assets to grow strongly over the next five years. Our realistic projection for total platform assets by 2026 is £1.7trn (optimistic, £2.7trn). For the adviser platform channel only, we expect assets to rise to £1.4trn by 2026 (optimistic, £1.7trn).’
Notes to Editors:
The Platform Report is a confidential report published by Fundscape. To subscribe to the report, platforms must contribute asset and sales data on a quarterly basis. For further information about the report and Fundscape, please visit www.fundscape.co.uk.
A total of 19 platforms are included in the analysis. Platform coverage is estimated at 98% of the platform universe.
1 Hargreaves Lansdown reports in arrears. Assets are actual, but sales are estimated.
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