Fidelity has overtaken Standard Life in the race to receiving the 'lowest cost share classes available' from fund groups, as the pricing war officially gathers pace ahead of new platform rules.
Four more fund groups have agreed pricing deals with Fidelity Worldwide Investment, the parent of its FundsNetwork platform. This represents a four-strong lead over competitor platform Standard Life, even though Fidelity only formally launched its drive in October.
Fidelity confirmed that 15 of the 20 largest fund houses by assets on its platform have offered their ‘lowest cost share classes available’, with a total of 86% of all Fidelity’s fund partners having now done so. Fidelity is yet to name the fund groups that have dropped their prices.
In contrast, Standard Life has secured super clean terms from just 11 firms.The eight that have come forward publicly so far are Old Mutual, Cazenove, Henderson, Investec, Neptune, Schroders, Standard Life and Threadneedle.
Fidelity’s programme for winning such deals, known as Access promises participating asset managers enhanced marketing support – such as inclusion in investor events – in return for access to the cheapest share classes that are made available.
Fidelity has stressed, however, that fund groups opting out of Access will not have their ranges downgraded in any way and emphasised its commitment to its ‘open architecture’ model.
The three criteria Fidelity has stated that it will take into account when determining these deals are ‘quality products, operational effectiveness and competitive pricing’.
The news follows rival platfrom Hargreaves Lansdown, the biggest direct-to-consumer platform in the UK's decision to delay announcing its retail distribution review pricing structure until early next year. The discount broker had been set to unveil its unbundled charging structure at the end of this year, and will be required to implement the new structure from 6 April 2014. This follows a tender that went out earlier this year asking fund groups to offer them their lowest pricing possible and even put forward the idea of gaining access to exclusive share classes.