Platform assets increased to £173bn in the final quarter of last year - despite a drop in sales owing to ongoing economic uncertainty, research suggests.
According to Fundscape's quarterly platform report, platform assets rose to £173.7bn during the last three months of the year, up 7% on the third quarter, thanks to robust stock market performance.
But 2011 ended on a low note for the industry, with gross sales dropping 20% in the final quarter to £9.5bn and net sales plunging 42% to £4bn.
But Fundscape said the Q4 drop-off was merely a "blip" and can be explained by delayed investor reaction to a spate of bad economic news which started to emerge in August.
For the year as a whole, platforms registered gross flows of £44.6bn, up 30% on 2010's full year total of £34.2bn. Assets also increased by £29bn during the year.
Fundscape also pointed towards "improved" sales in January as further evidence that the Q4 sales decline was a momentary blip.
Indeed, it thinks further strong growth could see platform assets near the £380bn mark by 2016.
"It's about technology and ease of use," said Fundscape director Bella Caridade-Ferreira. "What happened to the high street is happening to retail investments.We think a realistic forecast for platform assets is £293bn by the close of 2016, but our optimistic scenario puts assets as high as £378bn."
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