Platforms actively combating cyber fraud: Investment Trends report


King Loong Cho

Leading research firm Investment Trends has released its 2017 Platform Benchmarking & Competitive Analysis Report, an in-depth study of the investment platforms used by Australia’s financial planners and their clients.

Now in its fourteenth year, the report benchmarks 19 of the leading platforms in the industry across 522 key characteristics, providing unique insights into their competitive standing and emerging trends across the industry.

This year’s study highlights a number of important trends:

  • Platforms prioritise helping advisers achieve greater transactional efficiencies
  • Platforms are actively combating cyber fraud
  • Netwealth holds onto top spot in overall platform functionality

Platforms prioritise helping advisers achieve greater transactional efficiencies

Transactional efficiency continues to be a key focus for investment platforms in 2017, and platforms are making headway on two main fronts – managed accounts, and the ability to generate Records of Advice (RoAs) on platform.

“For years, financial advisers have sought to achieve greater admin and transactional efficiencies in their practice, and in recent times, many have embraced managed accounts as a solution,” said King Loong Choi, Senior Analyst at Investment Trends. “Many platform providers have responded by broadening the accessibility and functionality of managed accounts to their users,” explained Choi. “In 2017, the main improvements relate to a wider range of managed account structures, models and managers, improvements to model manager portals, and an easier in-specie transfer process.”

“In addition, platforms like HUB24, Netwealth and OneVue have recently introduced the ability for advisers to generate RoAs on platform, creating even greater efficiencies in the advice delivery process,” added Choi. “Our latest Planner Technology Report shows that advisers want the next generation of platforms to play a greater role in advice delivery, and many leading platforms have risen to this challenge,” said Choi.

Platforms are actively combating cyber fraud

Cyber fraud is becoming a more prominent concern in the financial planning industry. This is reflected in the experience of advisers, with a quarter aware of fellow advisers who have received fraudulent client withdrawal requests in the last three years. Many platforms are responding to this growing risk and have taken steps to boost cyber security.

“Fraudulent client withdrawal requests is a key area where platforms have focused their cyber security efforts,” said Choi. “While nearly all platforms currently send alerts to clients when a withdrawal request is made, or when their bank account details are updated, some platforms have taken security to the next level with client validation of withdrawal requests,” explained Choi.

“The option for client validation of withdrawals is highly sought after, with three in five advisers seeking this from their platforms, so it is great to see platforms responding to advisers’ needs,” said Choi.

Netwealth holds onto top spot in overall platform functionality

Among full-function platforms – those that support advisers who recommend a wide range of investments, including direct equities – Netwealth maintained its number one position for overall functionality, though HUB24 narrowed the lead. OneVue overtook CFS FirstWrap for third spot, with Asgard eWRAP close behind.

The five top-ranking full-function platforms are:

  1. Netwealth
  2. HUB24
  3. OneVue
  4. CFS FirstWrap
  5. Asgard eWRAP

Industry wide, both Netwealth and HUB24 stand out for their reporting, online business management and decision support tools. On the other hand, the relative strengths of OneVue revolve around its reporting and product offering, while CFS FirstWrap holds a competitive edge with its online business management tools.

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