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Public platform access could pose problems

Advisers who give clients access to platforms to carry out direct trades may be putting them at risk, warns Perception director Phil Billingham.

He says he is concerned that consumers may not fully understand the regulatory risks involved in investing in unregulated products available on many platforms. He says platforms were designed as business-to-business tools and fund firms do not intend the public to use them.

Billingham says: “IFAs have been very cautious about giving clients access to platforms so it is only a small problem right now but in a year’s time it could be a very big one.”

Transact says it now requires evidence that a client has completed a sophisti- cated investor certificate or a Cobs4 notice before they can trade directly in unregulated collective investments.

Head of marketing Malcolm Murray says: “The Transact-Online program identifies whether a form has been completed and if it has not, then the trans- action will fail.”

Zen Financial Services IFA Mike Pendergast says that most advisers only give clients access to valuations.

He says: “I do not see the point in giving the client access to do what the IFA should be doing.”

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