Natanje Holt asks whether the growth of the D2C platform market is one benefit from RDR
The direct to consumer (D2C) platform market has been growing rapidly alongside the adviser wrap platform market in the run up to RDR and into 2013. Assets under administration on D2C platforms increased 29% from £73.2bn to £94.2bn in the year to 31 September 2012 and Platforum predicts a doubling of AUM by the end of 2014 to £180bn.
Nearly two thirds of all D2C assets go to the top six players which are in order of size: Hargreaves Landsdown, Barclays, Fidelity, TD Direct, Selftrade and Alliance Trust. A number of white labelling partnership arrangements with these players have bolstered their positions of strength.
For example Informed Choice announced it is working with Fidelity FundsNetwork to provide support for its D2C platform IC Direct. Interestingly, wrap platform provider Ascentric is about to unveil a ‘B2B2C’ white labelling offering to enable distributors to bring its own D2C platforms to market more quickly and cheaply.
Ascentric’s B2B2C propositions manager, Kate Bowler sees it like this: “We have proven capability in transacting a range of products and looking after client money for IFAs. We will provide the technology platform to enable distributors to get to market quickly with a fully functioning transactional D2C platform offering a general investment account, SIPPs, ISAs and model portfolios.
“While the underlying platform is the same for advised and non-advised trading we’ve developed a consumer interface for D2C which ensures that IFAs’ customers can transact independently without guidance or advice.”
Bowler also makes it clear that she sees real interest, from the adviser community, in retaining a link with the customer even when they are choosing to buy financial products which do not require financial advice.
“This is not necessarily about pushing those that cannot afford financial advice onto their D2C platform but also offering all their customers, even the high net worth ones, the choice to buy a block of BP shares or an ISA via their lower-charging D2C platform.
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