Altus have supported and guided us from platform as a concept through all the following phases and across all work streams including Supplier Selection, Design and Compliance. I recommend Altus to other companies with absolute sincerity.
James Dunne, Head of Strategy & Business Development, Santander
The dust has well and truly settled from the Retail Distribution Review and the world has changed. We have seen the advice gap stretch open beneath the weight of clients no longer services by advisers, either because they can’t pay or they won’t pay. The FCA instigated the FAMR initiative to try and counter this problem, but 28 recommendations later, we still have an underserved mass market of customers.
With a typical value of sub £50k investable (which is probably largely held in cash) this is far from the typical wealth management customer. There is a huge opportunity among this client base for anyone who can operate an efficient platform at scale and develop an engagement strategy which is personal and relevant to inexperienced investors. This combination of factors, accompanied by the consumer desire for brands they can trust, has led to retail banks entering the space but it is still too early to tell whether they will be able to drag the limelight away from Hargreaves Lansdown.
For advisers, the direct market represents less of a threat than many would have feared prior to RDR, but the emergence of robo advice tools, many of which are available as B2B2C offerings, will result in a shifting of attitudes towards the advice profession. We expect to see lines blur as firms from both side of the fence realise that customers can be advised or direct at different points in their lives, and also for different products and decisions.
Most importantly, without rebates, commission and advisory incentives to fall back on, the winners in the D2C space will have to offer the public a high level of service in an intuitive and innovative platform, all for a reasonable price. Customer advocacy and loyalty will be essential for platforms, as will building communities of engaged and enthused users. For those that fall short, people will vote with their feet.