As the changes to adviser business brought about by the RDR take effect, overall client charges have become more important. It is expected that the overall level of charges will come down across the distribution chain, and value for money and the ease with which platforms can facilitate adviser charging will become more vital.
Nucleus comes out top in terms of charging. It maintains its position from 2011 for value for money, with 90 per cent of advisers who use it rating it good or very good. It also comes first for transparency of charges and facilitating adviser charging.
But Nucleus is pipped to the top spot by Aviva Wrap for level of fees/charges, with 92 per cent of its users rating Aviva’s charges as good or very good.
Aviva Wrap also manages a close second in value for money but does not appear in the top five for transparency of charges or facilitating adviser charging.
Ascentric and True Potential also feature in the top five in the four charging categories analysed here (see graphs, below).
Transact backs up its strong showing for overall satisfaction by appearing in the top five for three of the four charging areas.
Novia slips down in the rankings when compared with 2011, falling out of the top five platforms for value for money and levels of fees/charges categories altogether, although it still features in the transparency of charges and facilitating adviser charging tables.
Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe expects charges to become much more transparent in 2013.
“There are some platforms that are very easy to explain and others that are virtually impossible,” he says. “Post-RDR it should actually be clearer. We are using funds that we know never paid any rebates to platforms so it was very much an unbundled charging structure anyway. We know that the platform was charging our client an explicit charge and they were not getting any additional remuneration from the fund providers of the funds we recommended.
“It was impossible pre-RDR for any adviser to say ‘my client is paying £500 to X, Y and Z platforms’. So it should become easier post-RDR.”