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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.