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Platform usage to increase in 2008, says Skandia poll

Platform usage over the next 12 months is set to increase as investment advisers turn increasingly to platforms to help them service their clients, according to a survey by Skandia.

It shows over half of advisers say they expect an increase in the use of platforms for conducting new business in the next 12 months. Only one per cent expect a decrease.

The poll of 222 advisers revealed 91 per cent of those questioned use a platform to conduct business. Over half of these say they transact more than half of their existing business through a platform and 60 per cent conduct over 50 per cent of new business through a platform.

Skandia head of platform marketing Peter Jordan says the research confirms platforms play a central role in the business processes of investment focused advisers. He says: “The majority of them foresee the use of platforms increasing in the next 12 months which provides an excellent indicator as to the direction advisers are now taking in order to help them improve the advisory services they are providing to their clients.

Jordan believes the findings are especially encouraging in light of the FSA’s views on advisers providing ongoing service to their clients to justify trail commission. He says: Advisers have clearly recognised the strong signals in the FSA’s platform paper that if they are remunerated via trail commission they must either provide an ongoing service or make it clear to their clients that they will not. The research confirms that many advisers are planning to use platforms to provide the ongoing monitoring and advice services that are required in today’s market.”

Trentham Invest adviser Nicola Downs says the use of platforms has revolutionised the way advisers work. She says: “Clients want more control and transparency over their money and assets so that they can make more informed choices about their financial futures. They see the role of an IFA as the conduit to providing that control. If it takes days or weeks to get information about a client’s assets that does not bode well to building a strong, transparent relationship with clients.”

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