Skandia has launched an online platform due diligence tool allowing advisers to ask providers tailored questions to help with their platform selection process.
The tool, accessed via www.skandiaplatformwatch.co.uk, centres around a bank of 120 due diligence questions organised into the nine key themes set out by the FSA in its recent Platform Factsheet.
Advisers can email or post these questions - covering financial stability, functionality, cost, range of funds and support services - to the provider and then rate each platform's response against one another.
The free-to-use tool then produces a suitability score based on the priority of each question and the corresponding rating given by the adviser. A branded due diligence report can then be presented to the client and kept as part of the adviser's compliance records.
In addition to Skandia, up to three other platforms can be rated alongside each other at the same time.
Skandia says a key part of the tool is its ability to be tailored to the individual adviser - IFAs can choose what questions to ask, prioritise them in line with their most important needs and add their own questions.
Unveiling the new tool in London, Skandia platform marketing manager Jeremy Mugridge stressed it is completely impartial and was created to help advisers better select the platform appropriate to their client needs.
"This is not about skewing the results in favour of Skandia," he says. "If an adviser thinks another platform rates more highly than Skandia then they will say so. We are providing a structure for advisers to carry out sensible due diligence and we hope they find this refreshing."
Pointing out its rivals may score more highly in areas such as availability of ETFS, cash accounts and unbundled charging - none of which Skandia currently offers - he nonetheless thinks Skandia will fare favourably against its competitors.
Mugridge adds the very fact Skandia is offering the unbiased selection tool underlines the confidence it has in its "comprehensive offering."
"The questions have not been selected to make Skandia look good," he says. "We tackled tough issues and if advisers don't like the questions they can choose their own."
Launch of the due diligence tool follows on from its price comparison tool and Mugridge says it was important to highlight areas other than pricing - an issue that has come under the spotlight recently.
In a recent Skandia survey of over 1,300 advisers, 52% said analysing information and making a selection is the most challenging aspect of platform due diligence. A further 18% said knowing which questions to ask was the most difficult part.
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