04

Your platform usage

We’re seeing evidence of consolidation of platform use among advisers. When selecting a platform, advisers are prioritising platform functionality and integration support.

Select a region on the map to see results at regional level.

Northern Ireland excluded due to an insufficient number of responses

Does your business plan to partner with any new platforms in 2021?

What is the most important factor you consider when selecting a new platform?

How frequently does you firm run platform due diligence reviews?

Current sentiment

Generally, the support and usefulness of the platforms you use were rated positively, with around three-quarters rating this as excellent or good and only 4% below expectations. Nucleus users continue to use around six platforms on average, with one primary, two secondary and three legacy platforms.

The support and usefulness of the platforms I use is…

Future usage intention

Despite general satisfaction, there appears to be consolidation of platform usage in the pipeline for secondary or legacy use platforms.

The future intention stats show net usage (number of users set to increase usage minus the number of users set to reduce usage) of fourteen of the listed platforms is set to decrease. Also, upwards of a quarter of users of eight of the listed platforms are currently moving clients off the platform.

How will your platform use change across 2021?

New platform selection process

16% of respondents intend to partner with a new platform in the next year.

This means careful consideration of your regulatory (is it in the best interests of your client?) and commercial requirements (what training, procedures or additional work may be required to maintain existing service levels?) will be needed. The selection process (vs last year) remains consistent, with platform functionality, service and value for money being the three most important elements. This year, platform functionality rose to first place as the most important individual element followed by service, then value for money. Overall, advisers are looking for their platforms to deliver more functionality, particularly in conjunction with some of the other tools you use in their business. Also, remote working is likely to have been a factor in what you expect a platform to be able to support in terms of digital onboarding and engagement.

Does your business plan to partner with any new platforms in 2021?

What do you feel are the three most important factors you consider when selecting a new platform?

How frequently does you firm run platform due diligence reviews?

What drives a platform due diligence review?

Due process

And if you’re going to partner with a new platform, then platform due diligence reviews will be critical.

Frequency of review varies, but most (nearly eight out of ten) run this every six to 18 months. Periodic reviews are the most common trigger of a review, but frustration with a current platform and a change in proposition are both significant triggers. There was a doubling of those saying a change in the market situation was a driver. With a host of acquisitions in the market in the last 18 months, users clearly recognise this as a potential disruption to their business.

Platform integration

An area of focus across adviser businesses is the connectivity between the software used in your practice. Nearly two-thirds are satisfied with the integration between their platforms and the third party tools used.

However, around one in seven users expressed dissatisfaction with this, up slightly compared to last year. Despite progress made on many areas including digital signatures, signatureless and straight through processes, advisers consistently report limited movement or progress regarding integrations. The back office and platform relationship is key, for example, to allow quote and apply via a back office system to save double keying, reduce the risk of errors and freeing up time.

How satisfied are you with the integration between the third-party tools and the platform your firm uses?

Next… chapter five

For adviser use only

© Nucleus Financial Services Limited 2021

Nucleus Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, is registered in England with company number 05629686 and has its registered office at Elder House, St Georges Business Park, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0TS. Please note that telephone calls may be recorded in order to monitor the quality of our customer service and for training purposes.