Advisers continue to be confused by the FSA's stance on single platform use, research suggests.
A poll of some 350 advisers by research company Defaqto appeared to lay bare the extent of confusion over single platform usage: while 33% thought using just one platform would jeopardise their independence, 59% said it would not.
Nearly one in ten (9%) did not know whether using a single platform would threaten their independence.
In its most recent statement on the subject, its February guidance on independent and restricted advice, the watchdog said it would be "very rare, if impossible at all" for an adviser to remain independent using one platform.
It added advisers must be aware of the limitations of their chosen platform and consider either off-platform products or other platforms.
The regulator's February guidance marks an escalation in emphasis from its August policy paper when it said an independent firm "may be" able to use a single platform for the "majority" of clients.
In its platforms white paper, Defaqto said not all clients will be suitable for a platform and added the regulator will be "highly suspicious" of any firm claiming otherwise. It said advisers must ensure an off-platform solution is available and, if not, refer the client on.
The research group suggested the FSA's position that no single platform will be able to serve the needs of all clients should serve as an adviser's guiding principle.
"Client segmentation is key," said Defaqto insight analyst for funds Fraser Donaldson. "Matching groups of clients to particular platform types is an efficient methodology that is acceptable to the regulators."
The Defaqto survey found advisers use, on average, two-and-a-half platforms.
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