The retail distribution review (RDR) may have come into effect on 1 January 2013, but it is just the beginning of a wave of reforms that will continue for years to come, according to FundsNetwork head of advisory service Jon Everill.
Everill, who was previously president of the Personal Finance Society (PFS), said the platform paper, possible trail ban and a change in approach by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) meant the advice community was going through as much change in 2013 as it was before the RDR.
‘The RDR, in some people’s minds was a date: 1 January. But it’s a series of ongoing reforms,’ he said. ‘It isn’t a date, it isn’t over and done with. It’s all part of a general period of reform we are going through. It’s going to last many years, and have a profound effect for many years to come.’
Everill is supportive of these changes, in particular welcoming the FCA’s more pragmatic approach.
‘It does seem to have a different attitude towards the adviser community: it wants to be more inclusive, and it wants to help and nurture good behaviour and good outcomes for people,’ he said. ‘I think that’s quite important, and the previous regulator was slightly more confrontational. It is early days, but it is going down pretty well in the adviser community.’
What advisers want
Everill (pictured) joined FundsNetwork in June and has the seemingly enviable task of finding ways to spend its multimillion pound platform investment.
Fidelity has earmarked £250 million to spend across its UK businesses, a chunk of which will go to FundsNetwork, but Everill said it was important to work out what advisers wanted before splashing the cash.
‘What platforms can’t do is continue to throw services at advisers that advisers don’t want. Platforms need to listen to what advisers are asking for and give them that,’ he said.
He said feedback from advisers so far suggested they wanted improved usability and a more intuitive platform, and FundsNetwork would consider consultancy services if there was demand for it from advisers.
He said brokerage capability, a cash account and investment trusts were all in the pipeline to come onto the platform, possibly next year.
Retaining market share
The aim of Everill’s role and FundsNetwork’s multimillion pound investment is to strengthen the platform’s position in an increasingly competitive market.
Everill said the rise of wraps had taken a bite out of FundsNetwork’s market share, but it had been less affected than some of its rivals.
He said automated re-registration had not led to a significant outflow of assets and FundsNetwork had as many assets move onto the platform as it had transfer away from it.
‘When you have a series of smaller players yapping at the heels of the big guys, you will always lose some market share to them, but over the past three and five years, we don’t think we have lost as much as some of the others have lost in the top five [platforms],’ he said. ‘So we feel fairly confident in our ability to retain market share and, more importantly, to grow it.’
2013-present FundsNetwork, head of advisory services
2011-2012 Personal Finance Society, president
2010-2012 Time4Advice, founder
2010-2013 J&L Consulting, managing director
2009-2011 Personal Finance Society, vice president
2006-2010 Thinc (later renamed Bluefin), director
2005-2006 Thinc Destini, joint managing director
2003-2005 Destini Financial Services, managing director
2000-2003 CAG Private Finance, director
1995-2000 Provecta Financial Management, director
1991-1995 Swire Fraser, adviser
1989-1991 Friends Provident, administration role
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