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Wrap war warms up while advisers wait in the wings

The wrap race will gather momentum as a number of entrants are expected in the market while adviser take-up is predicted to continue apace.

Many advisers are holding back from committing to using any one wrap so far, with many waiting for more entrants to come into the sector.

But now IFA-owned wrap Nucleus has just gone live, Friends Provident is expected to clarify its intentions this year, as are Axa, Prudential, Royal London and Aegon, to name but a few. Positive Solutions, however, is the first of the IFAs to state its intentions to launch its own platform.

The group, renowned for its adviser technology, is preparing to take its offering out to the wider market creating what some have referred to as “the mother of all wraps”.

PosSol chief executive Neil Johnson says the plan is to take what they have and advance it to a more “universal” domain.

The fund supermarkets, meanwhile, will undoubtedly continue to build massive levels of assets, with Cofunds and FundsNetwork both having passed through the 10bn mark last year. Skandia/Selestia’s integration will also make progress with its planned morph into a fully-fledged open architecture wrap by 2008.

Many of these firms are represented on the Investment Management Association’s platform committee. While Cofunds, Fundsnetwork, Skandia/Selestia and Standard Life are represented on the platform committee. Many expect pressure to build for the FA-led wraps, such as Nucleus and Ascentric to get on board to provide a greater voice for advisers.

Another major debate where IFAs are looking for clarity is the issue of re-registration. The platform committee has made it clear this will be a major focus for it this year.

With backing from the FSA and a generally better understanding by the advisers themselves, hopefully the issue will be sorted.

If this is a reason for IFAs holding back from transferring their businesses on to a platform, perhaps 2007will be the year they no longer need to worry about it.

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