Adviser platform Nucleus has been offering different deals to larger firms for more than a year, despite saying its pricing structure was "clear and transparent”, Professional Adviser has been told.
Since its inception Nucleus has told advisers that, unlike many other platforms in the market, it would not offer different pricing deals to different firms.
However, a Professional Adviser source, who preferred not to be named, said they had seen documentation dating from three years' ago that showed pricing deals were happening. Nucleus has denied the deals had been going on for this long.
It has been claimed that firms with more than £300m of funds under advice have a chance of securing better pricing deals with Nucleus.
In response, Nucleus told Professional Adviser that it had only started piloting different pricing models last year and denied having offered deals before that. Nucleus chief customer officer Barry Neilson said the platform has "avoided" offering special deals to customers but said it is considering changing its future pricing strategy as it recognises platform pricing expectations are changing.
"We're working with a number of firms on a pilot to look at the different charging models we could make available in future. Once we're able to understand whether the pilot is viable, we'll let advisers know whether we're able to roll this out more widely."
When pressed by PA and asked whether it denies offering different deals from three years ago, Nucleus refuted those claims and said it had been in talks with "a couple" of firms since 2018.
It said it did not inform other advisers until a strategy for future changes had been put in place, citing the deals as "pilots". The firm added: "The pricing at Nucleus is always under review and this is part of how it can test different models."
Many adviser platforms do offer different deals for different firms, but Nucleus' ethos has always been that it would not as part of its "clear and transparent" pricing. Its mantra was supposedly that all advisers were to be treated the same and so offering different deals to different firms would not necessarily be in line with this.
Nucleus charges 0.35% for client assets up to £500,000, then 0.175% for the assets between £500,000 and £1m and 0.05% for assets above £1m.
Aside from the headline rate, it also charges £100 for opening an offshore bond account and an additional annual charge of 0.15%, as well as a 0.10% annual charge for an onshore bond, and £3.50 or 0.035% equity dealing charge - whichever is the higher.
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