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Holly Mackay: The glitz and glam of last night’s platform awards

Holly Mackay MM blog

Ouch. It was the annual Platform Awards dinner last night and I’ll warrant there are a few sore heads out there in Platform-land.

7IM scooped the honour of platform of the year. My congratulations go out to chief executive Tom Sheridan and the team. Skandia took the best fund platform gong home (although chief exec Peter Mann did miss his suggested 10.30pm curfew, so did I, Peter, so did I) and Ascentric chief Hugo Thorman picked up best open architecture wrap platform award, although we were so deep in conversation that only a poke in the ribs from IFDS’s David Moffat got him out his chair to go and collect it.

Absolutely no surprises that Hargreaves Lansdown picked up best D2C platform – good effort guys – although I think we’ll see some interesting new competition emerge in 2013 and 2014. From unexpected directions.

Best new platform was awarded to True Potential. These guys have built something that looks good and does offer advisers a more integrated solution that we have seen before. Personally, I think this is a very interesting new development which goes some way to answering the ongoing complaints from advisers about the lack of integration between platforms and software solutions.

It was great to see so many women there – things are slowly changing – and L&G’s Julie Greenwood, Aberdeen’s Chrissie Shuttleworth, Investment Quorum’s Petronella West, Cofunds’ Verona Smith, Fundscape’s Bella Ferreira and our own Carmel Dickinson added glamour, brains and pizzazz to the evening.

A favourite moment was when director of important stuff at L&G, Geoff Towers, passed by our table and knelt before me to chat. I like to think we may have played a small role in helping to shape L&G’s strategy, but honestly Geoff, there’s no need to kneel next time ;0)

A final mention to the charity Help for Heroes which is supported by the awards, and Clive and Monica Waller do a great job on this. Marine Mathew Hancox was wounded in Afghanistan and spoke about how Help for Heroes supports service men and women. He’s only 24 and such a brave, brave guy. Talking to Matt last night was a humbling experience. And actually a rather exciting one as it does an old bird no harm to talk to a very cute and handsome young man whilst her husband is at home babysitting the kids! We’ll be making a further pledge to this charity later today.

In other news, we were given a sneak preview of Zurich’s new platform this week. Although the platform has suffered from well-documented delays, the time they have taken in creating a bespoke web portal for both advisers and clients has paid off and it looks good. If they can back it up with admin and service, then this platform will be a welcome addition to the fold.

Have a great weekend all. I’m off to find the Nurofen before three 4 year olds come for tea. It’s a C Beebies kind of day, I think. Middle-class guilt about bunging kids in front of the telly? Not today.

Holly Mackay is managing director of The Platforum

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