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Cofunds says life companies are scared of losing assets

Cofunds claims life companies, want to get into the platform sector is because they are frightened of losing assets.

At the Cofunds annual dinner at the Science Museum in London last week, chief executive officer Brett Williams said he wants the platform to help advisers shift away from “big-brand institutions” and help them”liberate investors from poorly managed, expensive and opaque products”.

He said the iPod generation is used to accessing bespoke products and selecting their own playlists instead of buying albums and financial services need to offer similar choice and flexibility. He said: “You do not have to settle for stuff you do not want. You can pick and mix your assets and funds. You do not have to go to a high-street retailer, you can buy into a personalised plan for your unique financial journey.

“There is only one reason the life offices are venturing into the platform space – because they are scared. Poorly-performing legacy assets are flowing out to platforms. Life offices regard us as a protagonist in a peasants’ revolt that has turned their world inside out and upside down.”

Axa Distribution Services head of marketing Ian Thomas says: “Fear of losing assets is not the reason. It is a recognition of the fact that our customers needs have changed. They are becoming more sophisticated and advisers’ business models are changing. It is not a reactive defensive move, it is a strategic move.”

Standard Life Savings chief executive officer Geoff Towers says: “We see ourselves as being an asset management business now rather than a traditional life and pensions company and we have very much moved towards that model.”

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