Fundscape Platform Data Q1/24 – Light at the end of the tunnel?

by | May 23, 2024

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Platform assets rose by £89.4bn in the first quarter of 2024, a rise of 9.4%, but not all of it was market growth. Nucleus added its Curtis Banks data to its stats, roughly £41bn, making it the fourth largest platform in the market.

Stripping Curtis Banks out leaves us with asset growth of c5%. Stock markets skyrocketed in Q1 —the FTSE 100 was up by a respectable 2.8%, but the FTSE All World and the S&P 500 rose by a whopping 7.6% and 10.2% each — and platforms benefited.     

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Flows, however, missed the mark. Gross flows were £38bn and although net flows bounced up to £7bn, they failed to match the volumes of previous first quarters. Overall, the ISA season was a damp squib, with several platforms (both advised and D2C) recording net ISA outflows as the cost-of-living crisis and the siren call of cash continued to affect consumers. Pension business, on the other hand, surged and recorded its best gross and net flows in two years. 

 
 

Thanks to a combination of advised and D2C propositions, Aegon topped for gross sales and AJ Bell led for net. In the adviser platform channel, however, Quilter, Aviva and Transact recorded the highest gross and net flows for the quarter. Quilter stands out from the crowd and is worthy of mention — its net flows were its second-best figure since Q121, which is when the industry was on a post-pandemic, vaccine high. Pretty good going.

Bella Caridade-Ferreira, CEO of Fundscape said, ‘Is this the light of the end of the tunnel for platforms? Yes and no. Stock markets boosted assets and revenues, but flows are still well below par. We’re in a period of change —hopefully, we’ll see stronger flows in the second quarter and beyond. The Bank of England has signalled that interest rates will drop in the summer, which will help to level the playing field between cash and investments.’ 

‘Throw in wars and geopolitical uncertainty, elections on both sides of the Atlantic, and we start to see how fragile this recovery could be. Having said that, we believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel, rather than a train roaring down the tracks. Interest rates need to come down to around 3-3.5% for cash and investment to survive and thrive and the Bank of England has signalled that rate cuts are likely in the summer. UK inflation has fallen to 2.3%, the lowest in three years and just above the Bank of England’s 2% target.

 
 

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