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How platforms compare: Investment capabilities

With the recent emphasis on regulation it would be easy to forget platforms’ most important role – to provide a good return on investments

Pricing may be the critical issue for platforms in 2013, but investment capabilities are their fundamental reason for existing and must be central to everything they do.

The top five rankings for the four measures of investment functionality featured here (see graphs, below) are again dominated by the firms that feature in the overall tables and the charging categories.

Transact, Novia and Nucleus again feature in the top five for each category: overall investment capabilities; range of tax wrappers and products; range of discretionary management models; and direct equities.

When compared with 2011’s research, advisers’ satisfaction in all four areas has reduced.

However, Transact fares particularly well, coming top in three categories, with the range of discretionary management options the only measure it did not scoop.

It is widely expected that 2013 will see a big increase in the number of advisers adopting model portfolios into their investment advice processes.

This bodes well for Novia, which came top for the range of discretionary investment options available.

Although it features in only three out of four categories, Ascentric performs well, coming second for the range of tax wrappers on offer, the range of discretionary investments offered and the ability to deal in direct equities.

True Potential and Standard Life Wrap both make it into the top five for two different categories, while Elevate reaches the top five for ease of dealing with equities directly.

All the companies in the top five for handling of direct equity investments fare considerably worse than in the other three areas. This could be linked to the low instances of direct investment in equities for the typical investment adviser, although the area also attracts higher levels of advisers ranking the companies as either poor or very poor.

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