Planners’ satisfaction with platforms reach the highest level recorded

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Satisfaction with platforms reached the highest level recorded in the nine years of this study’s history, according to a new report released in April from leading wealth researcher Investment Trends.

The April 2012 Planner Technology Report is an in-depth study of Australian financial planners and their technology needs. The study is based on a survey of 1,412 financial planners concluded in April 2012.

“We have been tracking planners’ platform usage in detail since 2004, and the survey results clearly show the benefits of the circa $130m investments in technology by platform providers in 2011 for Australian planners and their clients,” said Investment Trends Senior Analyst Recep Peker. “The platform industry has made significant improvements, the greatest areas of improvement being integration with planning software, BDM and dealer support, and admin fees.”

Platform relationships are in a state of flux, with large and rapid changes to market shares
With a number of credible, well serviced platform offerings, many planners have been leaving the platforms they are not satisfied with. 27% of planners stopped using at least one platform for new inflows in the last 12 months, up from 24% in the previous study.

Financial planners now use just 2.3 platforms each for new inflows on average, down from 3.5 in 2009; the proportion of planners using more than two platforms has fallen from 44% to 31% over the same period. As a result, being an adviser’s ‘most-used’ platform is even more critical than ever before, with primary platforms receiving an average of 77% of total platform flows, up from 73% in 2011.

The top three platforms by number of primary relationships were:

  1. BT Wrap
  2. CFS FirstChoice
  3. Macquarie Wrap

Satisfaction is crucial to retention
“There is a very strong relationship between satisfaction and switching behaviour,” said Peker. “Relative to their market share, platforms with lower overall satisfaction ratings from their users lose a higher proportion of planners to other platforms.”

Many planners also remain open to switching in the future, with 40% saying they would change their main platform for lower fees, and 18% for better features.

Infinity eWRAP has had substantial initial success
This heightened sensitivity to fees also helps explain Infinity eWRAP’s initial success, with 8% of planners already using it to some extent.
Asgard’s new Infinity eWRAP product, which was launched as recently as October 2011, received the highest overall satisfaction ratings from financial planners using it as their main platform. The top three platforms by planner satisfaction were:

  1. Asgard Infinity eWRAP
  2. CFS FirstChoice
  3. CFS FirstWrap

Asgard Infinity eWRAP also attained the highest rating for ‘value for money’.

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