Head of FundsNetwork Jackie Boylan speaks to Square Mile's Richard Romer-Lee, discussing his her Australian roots, Covid-19 and the UK adviser platform market.
How do you see the UK platform market evolving?
There will be more consolidation - we are already seeing some. There are also smaller, more nimble players coming in who could challenge the larger, more established players.
We need to be alert. But I don't think it will get as low as four or five. There's always pressure on fees, however the platform cost is pretty lean so I don't see this reducing too much further.
How did you get into the industry?
I always wanted to be a business woman. I liked the idea of earning money and wearing a suit. In a graduate role at a big bank in Australia I quickly spotted where improvements could be made, but within a matter of weeks was being told I was doing too much, working too hard and didn't fit in.
This helped me realise it was not the right culture for me. I lasted six months in banking before I moved to investments.
What will platforms look like in 10 years?
The industry is ripe for disruption, though it hasn't suffered much yet. Blockchain, for example, will provide the opportunity to drive more efficiencies. It will become more engrained, rather than the sexy new thing it feels like today. The integration of technology, which is such an issue at the moment, will become much easier.
The use of APIs will accelerate and provide competitive advantages in the short to medium term to those who can accommodate them. Prices will continue to come down over the longer term. We will be able to have and see all our financial services in one place in less than 10 years.
What's the most extraordinary thing you've seen?
I think this (Covid-19) could be it - this is the most devastating, surreal and unprecedented crisis we have experienced. Prior to this, I guess the same as many people - the global financial crisis and 9/11. The former shattered belief and trust in everything you've ever known. The latter led to trying to act if the world was still continuing when it felt like it wasn't
How does the platform market differ in the UK from Australia?
After the global financial crisis UK banks exited the advice market and the number of advisers shrunk. In Australia, the banks gained more power and the vertically integrated advice model grew. In the platform market, many providers developed their own technology - some had 3 or 4 platforms which they tended not to integrate with one another.
It was also an opportunity for the Antipodean brands, who were mainly in the institutional and super fund market, to diversify into the retail market in the UK. There are many players in the market here, yet the top four attract most of the growth in Australia.
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'Until absolutely safe'
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'Reduce stress levels all round'
For smaller and medium firms
'There will be more consolidation'
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