Geopolitical clouds gathered for the fund industry in the second half of the year, but platforms weathered the storm thanks in particular to robust pension product flows. As a result, platform flows rose to record highs in the fourth quarter, with gross sales totalling £22bn and net sales coming in at just over £12bn.
According to the Fundscape Platform Report, it was a remarkable year for the industry. Platform assets rose by £50bn to reach £343.7bn at the end of the year, a growth rate of 17% that overshadowed the FTSE 100’s -2.7% for the same period. Pension freedom and the ongoing demand for income were the two main factors that drove flows and worked in the industry’s favour. Gross sales for the year rose by 21% to £82bn from £68bn in 2013, while net sales were up by 16% to £42bn from £36bn in 2013.
Fundscape has just published Navigating the post-RDR landscape in the UK, a report commissioned by Alfi to assess the impact of RDR on the UK and its potential impact (in the form of MiFID2) on the European fund industry. It is available to all industry professionals at no charge.
The Alfi press release is available here. To view the presentation click here. Click on image below to download the full report.
After months, if not years of rumour, L&G has finally acquired the Cofunds platform. The insurance company was one of six shareholders that first came together to challenge Fidelity in the supermarket world more than 12 years ago. Since then, Cofunds has grown to assets of more than £50bn and is the leading platform in the market by AUA. It grew and became part of the established platform industry, losing its newcomer, cutting-edge status in the process. Which may well be why the other five stakeholders were willing to sell to L&G — that and the fact that running a platform business is very expensive.
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The usual flurry of ISA business at the beginning of the tax year gave fund sales a welcome boost in the second quarter. Net retail sales reached their highest level for a year. Managers with the right sort of funds benefitted. Meanwhile the trend towards more investment outsourcing by financial advisers continued. To see the rest of this press release click here.