Findings from Defaqto’s Annual Platform Service Review

by | Mar 4, 2024

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  • 34% of advisers had changed one or more of their preferred platforms in the last year
  • Aviva remains advisers’ preferred platform provider based on the greatest number of top three preference positions but, Quilter returned the greatest number of first or only choices
  • Aviva remains advisers’ most recommended platform provider followed by Quilter, AJ Bell Investcentre, Transact and Fidelity Adviser Solutions
  • Adviser satisfaction has fallen in the past year, with the average satisfaction scores dropping by seven percentage points

Defaqto’s newly released annual Platform Service Review for 2024 has found that more than a third (34%) of advisers had changed one or more of their preferred platforms in the last 12 months. This is compared to 28% the previous year and 19% in the year before.

It also found that adviser satisfaction levels have fallen. On average, satisfaction scores fell by seven percentage points, with the top five most important categories for advisers suffering the most. Some dropped by as much as 10 percentage points. 

The annual survey conducted by Defaqto, the financial information, ratings and fintech business, measures how satisfied financial advisers are with their preferred providers and identifies where expectations are being met.

 
 

Aviva and Quilter battle to be named advisers’ preferred providers

Aviva remains advisers’ preferred platform provider with 29% of advisers placing the firm in their top three choices. However, Quilter, which has remained in second place, returned the greatest number of first or only choices.

The platform market is largely dominated by Aviva, Quilter, AJ Bell, Fidelity, and Transact, with more than 20% of advisers placing these platforms in their top three. However, with advisors increasingly changing platforms in the past year, there is no room for complacency.

 
 

AJ Bell climbed one place moving into third position and Transact moved up to fourth place. Whilst Fidelity Adviser Solutions dropped two places, from third to fifth this year. Hubwise Securities (6%) and Wealthtime (3%) also saw their positions drop, falling out of the top 10 preferred providers. 

In total, 20 providers received sufficient adviser nominations as preferred providers to be awarded a Defaqto service rating. 

The top 10 preferred providers, in order, were:

 
 
  1. Aviva, 29%
  2. Quilter, 27%
  3. AJ Bell, 26%
  4. Transact, 22%
  5. Fidelity Adviser Solutions, 21%
  6. Aegon Platform, 11%
  7. abrdn (for Wrap), 10%

= Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC), 10%

  1. abrdn Elevate, 9%

= Novia Financial, 9%

These percentages are based on the total (rounded) first, second or third choice platform for advisers. 

Advisers continue to make increased platform changes

Advisers are changing platforms more than ever with 34% saying they had changed their main platform provider in the last 12 months. This has grown six percentage points since last year and the number has been steadily increasing since 2018, minus a slight drop in 2020, 2021. 

Darren Winfield, Insight Consultant (Wealth Management) at Defaqto, said: 

“The rise in platform changes shows that advisers are becoming increasingly confident making switches to improve experience and accessibility for their clients. This is likely due to the impact of Consumer Duty regulation, alongside the impact of mergers, takeovers and technology updates in the past 12 months. 

“Additionally, we’ve seen adviser satisfaction fall in key areas such as new business administration, existing business administration and transition and implementation. This combined with industry changes means that platform providers must continually look to improve service and experience to meet complex adviser needs. Investing in these areas is crucial and brands who become complacent will start to get left behind.” 

Best performing providers

Defaqto also identified the top performing providers in eleven service area categories including new business administration, reporting and technical assistance. 

7IM achieved the most top three places for performance, polling, first place for three of the categories and second place for a further six. Parmenion achieved the greatest number of first place positions (six) with seven top three places in all. Quilter and Wealthtime also did well with four top three places apiece. 

Overall, the industry is meeting or exceeding expectations for only four out of the 11 categories of service. Most concerning is that the categories ranked top three for importance (new business administration, existing business administration and transition and implementation) fell below adviser expectations by upwards of three percentage points of satisfaction. 

Read the full Platform Service Review 202here

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