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Santander to launch D2C platform

Santander UK plans to launch a direct-to-consumer platform next year and is looking for a third party to deliver the technology.

The Financial Times reports the platform will be open to both existing and new customers, with the bank looking to offer customers use of online risk profiling tools and model portfolios.

Santander did not say whether the platform will only offer online investment guidance or whether it would offer a fully managed discretionary service.

Santander head of UK banking Steve Pateman told the newspaper he was intrigued by platforms such as Nutmeg, which offers discretionary portfolios targeted directly at investors.

He added: “The physical distribution of wealth management products has become less of a service that banks want to offer – it’s highly regulated, it involves very expensive people and we get into trouble when we get it wrong.

“The emergence of people like Nutmeg is transforming the way those services are delivered. But the challenge for something like Nutmeg is that it lacks scale. They need to partner with a big distributor to get the scale.”

In a statement, Santander says: “Santander UK is considering plans for the launch of an investment platform in 2015 that would be aimed at customers from the traditional ‘retail’ to high-net-worth. Santander recognises the platform market is growing and we are exploring various options to enter this market in order to deliver services ranging from simple, non-advised platforms where investors make their own decisions about what to buy through to ‘full advice’ and discretionary services. 

“It is early in the planning process for this service, but Santander does believe the best way to provide these important services to its customers is through a strategic alliance with a third party.”

Money Marketing revealed in March 2013 Santander was pulling out of investment advice, leaving a 150-strong team to deal with existing customers. The bank was fined £12.4m a year later for poor investment advice following a mystery shopping exercise carried out by the FCA.

An increasing number of firms, from banks to fund groups to insurers, are looking at improving their D2C offering including Barclays and HSBC.



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