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Standard defends platform choice

Standard Life has rebutted suggestions that it spurned its Sigma platform after it chose Fidelity’s Funds-Network as an alternative platform for its Sipp.

Standard savings and investment marketing director John Taylor says, the decision to offer its Sipp-clients access to FundsNetwork was taken to complement rather than compete with the existing range of funds which are being offered through the Sigma platform.

He says customers’ first port of call will continue to be the Sigma platform and research suggests that a large segment of advisers place a high value on selecting from such a focused fund choice.

The cashflows that Standard Life is currently seeing demonstrate that only a minority of advisers are choosing to opt for FundsNetwork, says Taylor. He points to the Aus-tralian market, where platforms have moved from offering a full investment choice which has proved relatively expensive for the consumer because it negates the possibility of bulk-buying, towards offering more focused “baby wraps”.

Taylor considers that offering clients such a focus from a single platform will continue to make it competitive as the market changes. He says: “If we did not think that FundsNetwork was a good complement to the Sigma platform, we would not have put it on to our Sipp.

“It makes a lot of sense for those IFAs who want to do their own fund selection but the Sigma platform offers focus, coupled with the advantages of a widely respected service culture. I do not think that we have rejected it.”

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