Last week we published the quarterly Platform Report, which attracted much attention. Total industry assets now stand at £267bn, and although it was the quietest quarter of the year, gross and net flows were pretty robust at £17bn and £8.9bn. (Download press release here and 60-second reviews here).
Market sentiment is driving sales, which is good for the platform industry, but RDR has also been a boon for platforms. The Distribution report is due out early next week, but we can reveal that platform market share jumped yet again and now stands at over 51% — a significant change considering their market share of 41% in Q4 2012.
After significant falls in Q1, stock markets began to level out at the end of March... just in time for the last two weeks of the ISA season. By the close of Q218, the UK stock market had recovered most of its lost ground, with the FTSE 100 and FTSE All Share rebounding by 8% and performing better than most major stock markets in Q2.
On the back of this upturn, platform assets rose by £32bn to £604bn, smashing through the £600bn level for the first time on industry records. Hargreaves Lansdown registered the most growth in cash terms, with assets rising to £92bn. Meanwhile Cofunds’s assets stand at a remarkable £96bn. If markets continue to rise at a similar pace, it should be the first £100bn+ platform in the UK in Q318.
Download this press release here.
In a year overshadowed by political uncertainty, it is no surprise that investors sat on the side-lines waiting for the storm clouds to clear. But after three quarters of sluggish activity, sentiment improved and net sales rose to £10.5bn in the fourth quarter, the highest since Q415. However, it was not enough to correct the balance — annual net sales of £38bn were down 16% on the £45bn in 2015 and few platforms were able to improve on their 2015 figures.
Download the full press release here.
Following the EU referendum, the FTSE 100 and the FTSE All-Share indices rocketed by 6% and 7% in the third quarter of the year, on top of the growth already experienced in late June. Against this backdrop, according to the Fundscape Platform Report, platform assets rose 9% from £432bn to £469bn by end September 2016. Since the start of the year, UK platform industry assets have increased by £67bn, an increase of 17%.
The first half of 2016 was challenging for fund groups and platforms alike. The stock market correction eased up as the second quarter began — in time for last-minute ISA activity — but Brexit scared off many investors who chose to hold off until after the referendum. Only pension flows broadly maintained their momentum.
According to the Fundscape Platform Report, as a result of investors switching and taking shelter in cash and safe products, gross flows for the quarter swelled to £24bn (£22bn in Q116), but net sales fell to £9.57bn (£9.6bn in Q116), the lowest total since Q3 2014 (£8.8bn). Bella Caridade-Ferreira, CEO of Fundscape, said “Investors lost their nerve in the final weeks before the Brexit vote and cashed out. Platforms without decent cash facilities would have felt the pain more keenly.”
With lots of PLC-owned platforms in our statistics, we had to delay publication of the Platform Report until they'd all finished reporting their annual figures — it took until Mid March!
Anyway, if you're time starved but need to keep your fingers on the pulse, look no further. For the fund industry 60 second review, provided by Pridham, click here and for the Platform 60 second review click here.
Download full press release here.
With a stock market correction of 8% during the quarter, it was no surprise that platform assets shrank by 0.7% to £377bn — robust flows and a strong interest in all things pensions cushioned platforms from the worst. Fundscape’s Q3 Platform Report showed that gross flows were slightly lower than the last quarter at £24bn, but net flows rose to a new high of £13bn. On a YTD basis, gross sales were £72bn v £60bn in 2014, while net sales were £35bn v £30bn the previous year.
Stock market turbulence put a brake on platform asset growth in the second quarter. But despite the FTSE 100 falling by 4% during the quarter, platform assets rose by £5bn to £382bn, a rise of 1.3%.
Despite stock market volatility, platforms registered a new high in gross sales as the ISA season and pension freedoms converged to boost platform business. As a result, gross sales for the platform industry totalled £24.6bn, and on a year-to-date basis £47bn against £41bn in 2014. Net sales came to £11.1bn, bringing the year-to-date to £21.6bn against £20.6bn the previous year.