View more on these topics

Platform focus: FundsNetwork

Holly-Mackay-Platforum-MM-700.jpg

FundsNetwork is the second-largest platform in the UK and is a multi-faceted business that services advisers, direct clients and institutions. Its AUA figure of £48bn as at December 2013 includes both retail channels as well as its DC pension book of business. It has an AKG Financial Strength Rating of  B for the adviser platform.

Like its competitor Cofunds, FundsNetwork brought in a new head of its adviser proposition in 2013. New boss Pat Shea has outlined an ambitious and extensive development plan for the adviser platform which sits alongside a wider agenda for Fidelity in its D2C, DC, institutional and asset management businesses.

So, what about the adviser platform? Well, as can be seen from  the price guide below, it is competitively priced for GIA and Isa business. Now if functionality can (as there are signs that it is) catch up…well, look out, competitors. A big impact on the functionality will likely come from the transfer to platform software provider Bravura and its new Sonata system, with Fidelity set to adopt the technology later this year.  

FundsNetwork addressed some of its pension charges pre-Budget with the removal of some ad-hoc fees for drawdown and transfers, leaving a flat 25 basis points platform fee as well as a £45 flat charge. With the new rules on drawdown giving platforms a greater opportunity to hold on to pension assets through retirement, Sipp pricing has shifted higher up the priority list for platforms and could become a highly competitive area.

On day-to-day usage, comments we receive from advisers show real contrasts in their experiences in dealing with FundsNetwork. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “primary” users (those who have the majority of their clients’ assets on the plat-form) are more upbeat than those who dip in and out of the platform.

On investment capabilities and focus, 2013 saw the platform introduce guided architecture ranges for customers and advisers who can select a multi-asset port-folio, a model portfolio or self-select. Fidelity now has a range of preferred asset manager relationships although this is separate to James Bateman’s team, which runs the multi-manager part of the business.

Fidelity and the FundsNetwork platform looks set to remain a powerful force in UK retail financial services across multiple channels.

 Holly Mackay is managing director at The Platforum

platforumtable

The Platforum’s take on price

FundsNetwork has one of the simplest pricing structures in the platform market: a flat £45 per year per client and then 25bp on assets. This makes it a competitive platform for mid-range clients – the flat fee makes it pricey for clients with less than £75k and the 25bp fee can look steep for larger clients.

Adviser views:

Plumptree Kilby partner Mark Dodd says: Fidelity have spent money making improvements to the platform and have generally done that well. Usability is much improved compared to what it was and the support from their people is good. One criticism we have is that we would like to see a tiered pricing set-up introduced because 25 basis points for large cases still feels quite expensive. 

Invest Southwest managing director Dave Penny says: We really don’t have any complaints about Fidelity. They are keenly priced and always come out among the most cost effective when we asses value for clients. They also have a significant marketing capacity meaning clients also recognise the Fidelity brand which gives them comfort.

Recommended

Brian-Tora-MM-Peach-700x450.jpg

Brian Tora: Investment sentiment is fragile as world watches Putin

Gold has given investors a tricky ride of late. The slide that took the price right back carried with it some unlikely victims. Albermarle & Bond, the upmarket pawnbrokers, saw its shares suspended as gold fell in value. Not that this is the first time this company failed. Having topped 400p at around the time […]

Ian-Taylor-2012-700x450.jpg

Transact profits up 14% to £16.9m

Transact has announced pre-tax profits of £16.9m for the year to 30 September 2013, as assets under administration grew to £14.3bn. The platform’s profits are up 14 per cent from £14.7m in September 2012. Over the year AUA grew 20 per cent from £12bn to £14.3bn, partly due to growth in financial markets. Administrative expenses increased 11 […]

Telephone-Phone-Business-Finance-General-700.jpg

Call for help: Are lenders treating advisers fairly on phone charges?

Brokers have criticised  a “cynical ploy” by lenders to operate telephone support lines charged at premium rates for lower-price loans and enquiries such as chasing procuration fees. Money Marketing sister title Mortgage Strategy revealed last week that Woolwich forces brokers to use a more expensive premium-rate lending support line to discuss deals below a certain value. […]

Financial advice-planning-advice-cashflow-analysis

Better Business: The importance of business planning

Many people argue that spending time on three year business planning is pointless when there is major change and uncertainty. Others suggest this is exactly the right time because it reduces risk and demonstrates effective management. The planning process has many advantages and provides: business direction opportunity for discussion of exit and succession options opportunity […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com