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Platforms cast doubt on mergers

Platforms say consolidation in the market is unlikely because it is almost impossible to merge two different sets of technology.

Speaking at The Platforum annual conference in London last week, Ascentric managing director Hugo Thorman and Axa Wealth marketing and distribution director David Thompson said convergence of platforms will be difficult to achieve.

Thorman said: “I do not know anybody who has worked out how to integrate two different platforms and if it was possible it would come at significant financial cost. Nobody has worked out if that is possible yet.”

Thompson agreed and added: “There is no easy way of crashing two platforms together efficiently and it would be equally difficult to run two alongside each other.”

There are currently around 30 platforms in the market.

The Platforum managing director Holly Mackay said: “I think the market will continue to grow, but those platforms will be powered by a select group of three or four technology providers.”

Thompson said Axa is keeping an eye on the corporate platform market and may move into that sector of the industry in the future.

He said: “The corporate market is obviously growing and we will monitor that and at some point in the future we might launch a corporate offering, but that is not definite.”

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