It was a difficult first quarter for platforms with the expectation of a recession and the cost-of-living crisis dragging on sentiment and flows. Two Interest rate hikes didn’t help either. Higher interest rates are usually bad for stock markets, but markets appeared to be Teflon-coated in Q1 with the FTSE 100 up 2%, the FTSE All World and S&P 500 up 7%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq up a whopping 17%. This boosted platform assets to £880bn, although the industry’s £930bn high is still some way off.
The going got exceptionally tough for the platform industry in the third quarter. The cost-of-living crisis, rampant inflation, the uncertain economic outlook and political instability together had a huge, negative impact on investor confidence. Investors were spooked, abandoned risk in their droves and retreated to the safety of cash.