Nucleus chief executive David Ferguson has called into question the validity of platforms charging on a basis point scale.
During a Q&A session at the Personal Finance Society conference, Ferguson was asked by Platforum MD Holly Mackay whether bps were a fair way of charging advisers and their clients.
"No one else in the world works on basis points," she said. "Why doesn't Nucleus go to a particular adviser firm, and putting some parameters around it, say what they are going to charge to support the firm in that business?"
Ferguson replied: "It's a perfectly fair question. There are capital issues which are scale related, and you could end up with a really complex structure that would charge 5bps for the custody and then activity costs.
"[However] we could say to the IFA firm, if you put portfolios into Vanguard funds, we are going to charge you £200 per client per year. That could happen.
"Equally, platforms may be being paid for as part of an IFA's infrastructure. We might bill an IFA firm £100,000 to have access to the platform. It wouldn't shock me if that was how the market was to develop.
"But we are some way off that, and in the round I'm sure not if that matters. Plenty of platforms are still losing money, so even if you change the model, the absolute levels still have to remain the same."
Nucleus is one of the platforms closest to charging IFAs a fixed fee.
The firm currently charges advisers a flat fee of 35bps, with no extra dealing charges. However, Ferguson added the firm was still open to negotiation on advisers with larger clients.
During the session, he also questioned whether it was fair that the fund management industry has settled on a consensus of 75bps, regardless of the performance of the fund.
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