A lot has happened in the world of platforms this week — most of it in Scotland. First there was the news that Standard Life Aberdeen is selling Parmenion, one of its three platforms. Hot on its heels was the announcement that its Edinburgh neighbour, Nucleus, had received offers for its entire share capital. Last but not least, Novia is reportedly changing hands before Christmas (OK, Novia is technically not Scottish but bear with us).
For the last 10 years we've produced annual five-year projections based on industry trends and the economic outlook and their likely impact on the platform industry. 2018 has been a challenging environment for the industry with some platforms taking a far larger slice of the action than others. Despite the challenging environment, the overwhelming consensus from platform leaders is that platforms that can support advisers to support their clients have a long-term sustainable future.
The FCA’s interim platform report has already been well and truly thrashed out by trade journals and other research houses. However, we believe that our tools and research are ideal for proactively engaging with the regulator’s long-term objectives and have reviewed the interim report on that basis. But first let’s start with the basics: why, who and what.
Nucleus has finally confirmed what we’d suspected for sometime: it’s going to float on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market. Transact was the first to take the plunge on 2nd March and in the same month AJ Bell announced that it was preparing a flotation in late 2018/early 2019. Nucleus’s announcement came on 2nd July, but it’s working to a punchy calendar and plans to have the whole thing tied up by late July, which is pretty fast by anyone’s book.
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!