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‘Prototype wraps must prove value to win over IFAs’

Skandia, Cofunds and FundsNetwork drove the bulk of asset growth on platforms last year.

Assets under advice on all UK platforms grew from £25bn in 2005 to £40bn in 2006, according to a report by Defaqto.

The research firm estimates there is a potential £1.42trn of investable wealth that could be moved on to platforms, meaning there is plenty of room for new entrants.

Its report, Wrap – Advisers Hold the Key, questioned 500 investment advisers about UK wraps and platforms.

Head of pensions and wealth management Matt Ward says fund supermarkets have a strong hold on the market and are now embedded in the adviser psyche but new entrants and other models must demonstrate how their propositions bring something different to the market.

He says the relative youth of the wrap market leads to many advisers refraining from committing themselves to platforms they see as prototypes.

The research found that most platforms aspire to attract high-net-worth clients but Defaqto says they should reconsider as many might be better off targeting the less competitive mass-affluent market.

It adds that despite a clear line coming from the FSA that using a single wrap platform will not threaten IFAs’ independent status, this has failed to get through to advisers as 42 per cent still think using one wrap could affect their IFA tag.

Ward says: “There is clear evidence from our research that advisers are aware of the value that platforms can add to their transactional business processes.

“However, talk of wholesale changes to adviser business models and increased adoption of full-service wrap propositions would currently seem to be wide of the mark.

“Niche players could do well through the sophistication of their investment options and asset diversity but others will have a battle on their hands to grow market share.”


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