Standard Life has confirmed that the Elevate platform will continue as a discrete platform proposition and will not be merged into the Standard Life one. Advisers will be pleased as punch. And relieved.
Following the UK’s historic vote in favour of leaving the EU which stunned the European political establishment and caused financial market turmoil around the world, concerns over the health of the UK property sector, which first arose in the run up to the referendum, have intensified.
According to the Investment Association, the top sectors of 2015, by net sales, were UK Equity Income, Targeted Absolute Return and Europe ex-UK. Fund groups lucky enough to have funds in these sectors will have had a good year, and if their funds were on any shortlists, they probably had a great year. How much impact does being selected by a gatekeeper have on a fund's fortunes? We ran our gatekeepers analysis to find out which funds had performed best and whether there was any correlation between performance and the number of selections they had attracted. All of the funds shown below are ranked on their three-year returns. The tables below include a mix of the best funds by performance and the funds with the most gatekeeper selections. The ones with the most gatekeepers usually attract the most flows.
So Standard Life is buying Axa's Elevate platform. Howe exciting! All we need now is for Aegon to confirm that it's buying Cofunds and that will be industry consolidation sorted for a little while. A tie-up between the two makes sense. Standard Life has big ambitions and the Axa group had made clear that it wanted out. It makes sense for Elevate to move to a parent that wants it and has a long-term stake in the industry.
Following on from our Q115 platform statistics, this week we're looking at which funds and fund groups were hot on platforms and why. The table below shows the top five fund groups and the top five funds by gross sales for the platform universe* in the first quarter of 2015.
Invesco headed up the table for the second quarter in a row. It has staged a steady recovery since Woodford's departure and has five funds in the top 25 funds. It is renowned for its income expertise, but its IP Global Targeted Returns fund (a rival to Standard Life's popular Global Absolute Returns Strategy) is beginning to turn advisers' heads. Now that GARS has become so big, some advisers will be keen to diversify exposure to GARS, so credible rivals will be considered. With GARS by far and away from its biggest seller, Standard Life should develop and bring on other funds of GARs quality.
Tuesday evening saw the Fundscape team head off to the Aberdeen platform awards dressed up to the nines and with no coats. Geordies we’re not, but at the beginning of the week the evenings still had that balmy summer feeling to them, although just a few days later the chilly nights have started to set in. It was a great evening as usual and it was great to catch up with the platform industry. Two platforms stood out and won the key accolades of the night: Transact for best platform for adviser service and best large platform provider, and Axa Elevate for best smaller platform provider, and the big prize of the night — best platform of the year. Well done!
It’s been a busy week this week. We’ve been finalising our new Platform database, which tracks platform assets and flows. We’ve now got seven and a half years’ history in the database and we’re starting to roll it out to platforms. Our first visit was to the market intelligence team at Cofunds who have already subscribed to the database (it’s a steal!) and we’re making appointments with other platforms. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
There’s a lot of interest around our confidential reports, so we’ve been working on enhanced security measures, particularly for the Platform Report. We’ve decided to go down the digital certification route which means that only users that have been certified by us will be able to read, copy or print the report. These features will make it impossible to transfer the report to non-authorised people electronically. We’ll be contacting all platform report subscribers to take them through the process of getting themselves a digital ID either individually or as a company.