One of the fastest-growing areas of the growing financial services market is the “platform” market, where technology-based platforms allow financial advisers, accountants and clients to hold, transact in and administer a wide range of investments, across different asset classes and legal structures, for the benefit of Australian investors.
The platforms hold both superannuation and non-superannuation investments, and offer investors and advisers an efficient and transparent way to handle investment portfolios, with detailed reporting so that both groups can accurately monitor the investors’ financial and tax position, and the performance of their investments. Platforms can handle a wide range of investments, including domestic and international shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), managed funds (often at cheaper wholesale rates), cash and term deposits, insurance products, and managed accounts, investment portfolios where the investor maintains direct ownership of the underlying investments, while having them managed according to a set investment strategy.
The platform market has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 11% since June 2011, with funds under advice (FUA) swelling from $436 billion to $765 billion at June 2017. The market is dominated by the big financial services names, such as Westpac/BT (owner of the Panorama platform, which has an 18.9% market share), AMP (18.1%), CBA/Colonial (15%), NAB/MLC (14.6%), Macquarie (9.7%) and ANZ Wealth (5.1%). The recently floated Netwealth – the largest of the specialist operators – is the tenth-largest player, with 1.7% market share.