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Platforum Focus: Transact


Transact trailblazed wrap platforms back in 2000 and, as an independent player, has been the IFAs’ darling for many years. With £15.11bn assets under administration as at December 2013, it was the sixth-largest adviser platform, with all assets coming from advisory business, unlike some of their larger multi-faceted competitors. 

If you ask advisers about Transact you are likely to hear two things: “The service from staff is excellent” and “They’re a bit pricey”.

Transact remains one of the (if not the) leading platforms when it comes to customer service. It has small regional teams whose names are mostly known by name to their adviser users, and few platforms come close to it for providing help and advice on demand. 

Service levels have remained consistently high. Advisers value the speed of service from staff as well as their levels of knowledge in rectifying problems. 


The platform has always offered a wide suite of tax wrappers and investments that go beyond just mutual funds. Transact is agnostic about what investments are purchased on-platform. It plays no role in fund selection or screening and is often one of the first ports of call for managers who want to make less mainstream brands available.

In a world that is becoming restricted and where platforms and investments are converging, we see a continued role for an administration platform that specialises in supporting independent advisers and those requiring asset variety.

Price remains the albatross around Transact’s neck. It is at the expensive end of the pricing spectrum.

Many advisers use Transact as a single platform. There’s no blanket rule to say this is inappropriate but we think advisers using Transact for smaller accounts need to be clear they are assessing suitability at individual client account level and not at total adviser practice level.

With a market for smaller Transact shareholdings being promoted, questions about valuation, future ownership and structure remain as hot on the gossip mill as they have been for the past five years. 

Although Transact is certainly a stable and profitable business, its idiosyncratic culture and fiercely loyal adviser base present interesting challenges to potential suitors, who will inevitably be cast in a different mould.


Holly Mackay is managing director of The Platforum

Adviser views

Page Russell director Tim Page: 

Transact is excellent if there is ever a problem. They will always call to resolve things, which is a rarity among some competitors. They also make any changes to the platform very quickly. For example, they made the updates following the Budget faster than than anyone else I saw. Cost is their main drawback but it is coming down.

Aurora Financial Planning chartered financial planner Aj Somal:

What Transact do well is make a wide range of investments available. That is their main strength. But it is not the cheapest for smaller portfolios and I find the system slightly antiquated in comparison to other platforms. 



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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I should declare an interest as a shareholder. Transact has been the first to do so may things and has been much copied. This includes charge reductions which were first made some years ago (and several times since) not just to improve the competitive position but because profit was becoming excessive! Now there’s a novel idea in the platform world where losses are high and profits, if any, normally painfully slim. Transact seems to act like a mutual, not just increasing profits but sharing the the benefits of greater efficiencies with all the customers through reduced charges as well. If that’s ‘idiosyncratic’ then it should be encouraged. Judging cost purely on current charges is not telling the whole story. A low charge from a deeply loss making or low profit competitor should ring the ‘sustainability’ alarm bell very loudly – no such issue with Transact.

  2. Value!

    The costs are high enough for it to be profitable and to be able to provide the best support and service. Dont forget, they own the software and have can make changes and improvements without queuing for IT time!

    They are the model for others to follow. My clients value my services and the service they get from Transact. What they won’t value is me placing them in a ‘cheaper’ platform where they experience endless delays and errors, with nobody to sort it out!

    Cost v Value. A simple one to deal with. It will be a sad, sad day that Transact ‘sells out’.

  3. Julian Stevens 14th May 2014 at 8:12 am

    Value means quality at a reasonable price and you can’t (realistically) have both, a fundamental truism unfortunately ignored by the designers of stakeholder products, yet still we have to mess about with an RU64 comparison when formulating any recommendation for pension accumulation products.

    My first effort at placing business (an offshore bond) with TransAct was an odyssey of frustration (eventually I told them to return the money) and the broker consultant was of no assistance whatsoever. As a result, I’ve never gone near them since, though I gather my experience was atypical and the couple of other intermediaries to whom I’ve spoken seem to think they’re great.

    At the other end of the scale, Aviva’s platform is very cheap (after two disastrous launches they seem to be buying business on a loss leader basis) but (so I hear) its functionality leaves a very great deal to be desired, whilst I read on forums such as this nothing but bad things about CoFunds. Find the one that works for you and stick with it. Having to compare all 40 platforms for every proposed investment and then having to explain why you don’t want to recommend all those other than the cheapest (apparently, so my network insists, a requirement of the FSA’s RDR) seems to be making life far more difficult than is actually necessary. Hence I’ve gone restricted.

  4. Certainly I am concerned about using Transact for small investment sums. And someone not a million miles from me suggested that Transact is popular because it is easier to get the client to agree to paying a percentage adviser charge on new money than on say other platforms where you have to get the client more involved in the approval process….
    And we are happy with Cofunds – worth the effort.

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