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Platforms face difficult second half after sluggish sales

Platforms should brace themselves for a difficult second half of the year as sluggish Isa sales led to a soft second quarter, consultancy Fundscape says.

Fundscape’s latest platform market figures show total platform assets – including the advised and direct-to-consumer sectors – grew by £32bn to £604bn in the second quarter of the year.

However, Fundscape says platform sales were disappointing with gross sales dropping to £29bn and net sales to £12.4bn, which were the lowest totals since the third quarter of 2017.

In the advised platform market, Quilter, which runs the Old Mutual Wealth platform, saw the highest gross sales with £2.4bn.

Standard Life was next with £2.2bn, followed by Transact and AJ Bell with £1.4bn. Aegon, not including Cofunds, saw gross sales of £1.3bn in the quarter.

Meanwhile, Standard Life saw the highest net sales in the quarter for advised platforms with £1.1bn, followed by Aegon with £998m, AJ Bell with £960m, Transact with £959m and Aviva with £817m.

Fundscape chief executive Bella Caridade-Ferreira says: “Thanks to the Isa season the second quarter is usually the  best of the year, but it’s looking like it might be the worst. Stock market volatility and global geopolitical  uncertainty has unnerved investors and they’re staying away in droves.”

Caridade‐Ferreira adds: “The first half of the year usually sets the tone for the second half, and with heightened  political tensions unlikely to dissipate any time soon, that tone is likely to be risk averse and soft. Platforms and fund groups need to plan and prepare for the difficult months ahead.”

ASSET TRENDS Q2 2018

Q417 Q118 Q218 Q218 Grth £m Q218 Grth % YTD Grth YTD Grth %
Cofunds 94,555.2 90,759.3 95,638.0 4,878.7 5.4 1,082.8 1.1
HL 86,037.0 84,166.0 91,600.0 7,434.0 8.8 5,563.0 6.5
Fidelity 79,679.0 76,804.2 81,603.2 4,799.0 6.2 1,924.2 2.4
St Life 54,022.0 53,505.9 56,335.1 2,829.2 5.3 2,313.1 4.3
Quilter 51,469.5 50,883.3 53,679.3 2,796.0 5.5 2,209.8 4.3
AJ Bell 33,566.4 33,816.7 36,700.0 2,883.3 8.5 3,133.6 9.3
Transact 29,700.0 29,753.0 31,884.0 2,131.0 7.2 2,184.0 7.4
J Hay 25,531.6 25,399.9 26,244.0 844.1 3.3 712.4 2.8
Aegon 22,191.0 22,637.0 25,472.0 2,835.0 12.5 3,281.0 14.8
Aviva 20,129.6 20,795.5 22,670.9 1,875.4 9.0 2,541.3 12.6
ATS 15,785.0 15,032.0 15,772.0 740.0 4.9 -13.0 -0.1
Ascentric 14,422.3 14,247.6 15,062.2 814.6 5.7 639.9 4.4
Nucleus 13,891.4 13,872.1 14,338.8 466.7 3.4 447.4 3.2
Zurich 8,680.0 8,710.0 9,490.0 780.0 9.0 810.0 9.3
7im 7,767.2 7,752.1 8,222.3 470.2 6.1 455.1 5.9
Next 4** 13,946.0 18,338.0 18,877.0 539.0 2.9 4,931.0 35.4
Total 571,373.2 566,472.6 603,588.7 37,116.1 6.6 32,215.5 5.6

Source: Fundscape. **The next four are Novia, Raymond James, Hubwise and Embark. Fundscape says Hargreaves’ figures are reported a quarter in arrears and AJ Bell’s figures are estimated due to its planned stock market listing

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