Planners have greater freedom of platform choice: Planner Technology Report

From

Key findings:

  • Recep Peker

    Recep Peker

    Planners have greater freedom of platform choice in 2014

  • Platform satisfaction is at an eleven year high, but planners’ loyalty should not be taken for granted
  • netwealth has the highest satisfaction amongst its users, while MLC MasterKey registered the largest rise in satisfaction
  • Westpac holds over a quarter of primary relationships

In its eleventh year, the May 2014 Planner Technology Report is an in-depth study of Australian financial planners and their technology needs. The study is based on a survey of 1,038 financial planners concluded in May 2014. This year’s study highlights a number of interesting trends:

Planners have greater freedom of platform choice in 2014

Planners have greater freedom of platform choice in 2014, with 35% (up from 28%) saying they choose from any provider they wish. Consequently, fewer planners (29%, down from 36%) say the reason they use a particular platform as their primary over another is due to dealer group preference.

“Over the last few years planners’ choice of platform had become more restricted, but following FoFA, and perhaps as a consequence of the introduction of the best interest duty, they now have increasing freedom,” said Investment Trends Senior Analyst Recep Peker. “With a quarter of planners saying they stopped investing new client flows via at least one platform, it’s evident that planners have used this increased freedom to change the mix of platforms they use, focusing even more on the platforms that best address their needs.”

Platform satisfaction is at an eleven year high, but planners’ loyalty should not be taken for granted

Planners’ satisfaction with their most-used platform hit another record in 2014, reaching the highest level recorded in the eleven years of this study’s history.

“Part of this is survivorship bias, with planners more likely to stop writing new business on platforms that they’re less satisfied with,” said Peker. “But an even greater driver is platforms’ increased responsiveness to planners’ needs. Their recent enhancements to usability, adviser support, reporting, direct shares and corporate actions functionality has played a key role in driving satisfaction to new records.”

“Following last year’s record satisfaction, these increases have resulted in planners’ overall satisfaction with their platforms reaching the highest level we’ve seen in the eleven years of this study.”

“Despite platform satisfaction hitting record levels, planners’ loyalty should not be taken for granted,” said Peker. “18% of planners who play some role in platform selection intend to look for a new or additional platform in the next 12 months.”

“When asked which platforms they plan to use, it appears the wraps will be the key winners from this switching, with planners most commonly saying they’re likely to start using Macquarie Wrap, BT Wrap and Asgard eWRAP (including Infinity).”

netwealth has the highest satisfaction amongst its users, while MLC MasterKey registered the largest rise in satisfaction

netwealth continues to lead the platform industry by adviser satisfaction, achieving the highest average satisfaction rating from its users. It was also highest rated for direct equities capability.

The top three platforms by planner satisfaction:

  1. netwealth
  2. CFS FirstChoice
  3. CFS FirstWrap

Over the last 12 months, MLC MasterKey recorded the largest increase in planner satisfaction. When asked what its users saw as the best new feature or innovation, many nominated the new online superannuation and insurance application functionality for helping them save time. The innovative capital and income guarantee feature, and improved reporting functionality also got enthusiastic mentions as best new features.

The second largest increase to satisfaction was achieved by the Asgard eWRAP and Infinity eWRAP platforms, with their users especially happy about the new Fee Disclosure Statement functionality, the availability of BT Life (in addition to AIA), online application enhancements and improved integration with XPLAN.

Westpac holds over a quarter of primary platform relationships

Westpac is the largest platform provider by primary planner relationships, with the proportion using a Westpac platform the most for new inflows remaining steady at 25% as of May 2014 (edging down from 26% last year). Westpac is followed by CBA, which holds 19% of primary relationships (steady).

On an individual platform level, BT Wrap and CFS FirstChoice are still the most-used platforms, followed by North and Asgard Infinity eWRAP, both of which continue to grow their share of primary relationships.

The four largest platforms by number of primary relationships:

  1. BT Wrap
  2. CFS FirstChoice
  3. North
  4. Asgard Infinity eWRAP

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