Platforms planning to add trusts

Cofunds and Fidelity Funds Network are both planning to make investment trusts available on their platforms in the run-up to the RDR while Skandia sees their introduction as less of a priority.

Investment trusts are currently available on Transact, Nucleus and Ascentric but the big three platforms have traditionally steered clear of investment trusts due to their payment structure.

Fidelity head of FundsNetwork David White says: “Funds Network will be making investment trusts available through the platform in the second half of this year.
“We have certainly seen a pick-up ininterest in these investments across the adviser market andplans are in place to deliver a solution ahead of the RDR.”

In September, Cofunds said it was to begin a pilot scheme with stockbroking firms to make exchange traded funds, individual securities and investment trusts available via the platform.

In contrast, Skandia is looking to make investment trusts available after the RDR. A spokesman says: “We see very low demand from advisers for investment trusts. Our priority is getting the platform ready for the RDR through launching an unbundled pricing structure and dealing with changes to the platform regulation market, in terms of rebates.

“After this, we will be looking at making other investment types available but there is not a specific timeframe for investment trusts and it will not be before the RDR.”
Association of Investment Companies director general Ian Sayers says: “Offering investment trusts on platforms will make a big difference to advisers recommending them, as it will make the purchasing process much more seamless.

“The RDR requires independent advisers to consider all investment products. If an adviser is going to use a single platform, they have to pick one that has all products. This is driving platforms to offer investment trusts.”

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “I expect restricted advisers to avoid investment trusts, as it is an extra area to cover. But platforms making investment trusts accessible will lead to a slight increase in advisers using trusts. There are some asset classes like property that can be suited more to closed-ended vehicles.”