The growth of the supermarket platform provides brokers with an opportunity to do more than sell financial products
The past 12 months have seen frenetic activity in the discount sector concerning the role of supermarket platforms and, indeed, the future of retail investment in general. In my view, what we are seeing is the opportunity for geared-up intermediaries to handle volume business and play a far more pivotal role than merely distributing investment funds.
Over recent years, the meteoric growth of several key investment houses, in terms of retail success, has been underlined by, an inability to cope with the administration in many cases. Workloads can often be increased dramatically by the demand for personal attention from direct clients.
The supermarket platform offers an ideal opportunity, to a relatively low margin sacrifice, for investment houses to go back to their primary expertise ' fund management. I firmly believe there will be a shift in terms of advertising direction over the next few years, moving from current direct response orientation to name awareness.
Supermarket platforms give investment advisers unparalleled access to live-time pricing and the ability to produce highly personalised portfolio overviews. Over time, they will be able to use the platform as a direct database where information can be accessed 24 hours a day on every facet of the client's investment position.
At HCF, we have firmly aligned ourselves with Cofunds and are working to ensure that a complete interface exists between our systems. Cofunds is aligned solely as a business to business provider that offers scope for partnership between our organisations in terms of technical and public perception issues. As there is a common goal, these can be dealt with far more aggressively without the potential diversion of having to deal with a market counter-party.
The platform gives us the potential to establish a new layer of administration/service provider. We hope this will be viewed as a primary point of contact, allowing us , provided we can fund brand building and infrastructure development, to become the major source of retail investment purchases and central point for any enquiries.
If dealt with correctly, I feel sure it is possible to build the perception of a merging of the lines between intermediaries and perceived product provider as the standard of information we are able to provide on a highly personalised basis continues to develop apace. The combination of our retained client ownership, together with the genuine atmosphere of co-operation that exists as the systems develop, gives me great confidence of there being a far more pivotal role for us to play in the future.
l Brokers have the opportunity to take a far more pivotal role.
l Supermarket platforms enable investment houses to concentrate on their core fund management business.
l Supermarkets offer 24-hour access to a client's portfolio.
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