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Segregate platforms to cut out confusion

The Platforum managing director Holly Mackay wants segregation of the platform market to avoid consumer confusion.

Mackay says the definition of platforms by proposition is a “dull red herring” and market segregation depending on distribution is needed.

She says: “It is actually the distribution channel which can be a more useful definer of platforms. This mattered less when the market was smaller but I believe it is now relevant to segregate the market into business-to-consumer platforms, IFA platforms, direct-to-consumer platforms and employee wealth platforms among others.”

Ascentric head of sales Shaun Sandiford says: “This simple categorisation will be as good for the industry as IMA sector splits are. It will aid due diligence and client satisfaction.”

Novia chief executive officer Bill Vasilieff says: “I think that it is always sensible when in business to start by deciding which markets you want to compete in and then building your proposition from there.

“I cannot see why the wrap platforms would object to this idea, provided that they are not misrepresented.”

But a Fidelity Fundsnetwork spokesman disagrees with Mackay. He says: “As people are increasingly required to take on more and more responsibility for their personal wealth thr-oughout the whole of their life-time, they may purchase financial products via multiple sources. It is important that they and their advisers have the opportunity to see all their savings, investments and pensions in one place.”

Finance and Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna says: “Spending too much time attempting to fit platforms into arbitrary categories in this way might actually be a distraction.

“The priority has to be identifying which of the various options are best suited to each individual client needs.”

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