Although the Financial Services Industry has shown some resilience to what will go down in history as the most challenging years for a very long time, the FCA’s recent survey has highlighted 4,000 financial services firms at heightened risk of failure. Some sectors of the industry have fared better than others; the Wealth and Investment management segment has been more resilient than retail-focused providers and continued to provide high levels of services to investors.
Despite or perhaps because of the continued fragmentation and lack of compatibility between the different electronic transfer methods across the pensions and investment industry, the adoption of open standards transfers has had a particularly strong year. 69 new participants now support electronic transfers and asset re-registrations based on the TeX legal and SLA framework and the UKRTRG open transfer standards. In total, there are now 438 organisations supporting electronic transfers across the wealth and investment management sectors.
The bulk of the growth in new participants in 2020 has been from the Wealth Management, Fund Manager and Pensions segments. Here is a summary of the coverage in the main market segments:
27 Adviser Platforms, representing 99.7% of AUA, support electronic transfers.
- All the top 20 Adviser Platforms support electronic transfers.
- 18 Adviser Platforms (or 57% of AUA) use the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG).
35 D2C Platforms and Execution Only Brokers support electronic transfers.
- 9 of the top 10 D2C providers support electronic Transfers.
- 29 use the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG).
95 Wealth Managers and Private Clients support electronic transfers.
- 91 use the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG).
57 White Label/Family Office/Charities.
- 53 use the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG).
8 Custodians/Intermediate Unit Holders support electronic re-registration.
- 6 use the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG).
194 Fund Managers, representing 93% of UK Retail Funds by FUM, support electronic re-registration.
- 45 (or 55% by FUM) use the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG)
16 Pension Providers support open standards based electronic transfers and re-registration.
- 9 use the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG)
Predictions for 2021
The focus, certainly during the first half of the year, is to ensure compliance with the new FCA rules in response to its Policy Statement 19/29 ‘Making Transfers Simpler’. The new rules around facilitating share class conversions as part of a transfer and ensuring investors are in the best share class available come into effect on 1st February. It is unlikely that we will see a bow wave of share class conversion requests on day one or that all market participants will be processing share class conversions electronically, but we expect demand for electronic support to build steadily throughout the year.
The other big market development for 2021 is the upgrade to the new version of the transfer standards. Not due until the end of October, this new version includes a whole series of enhancements and new capabilities; more on that in the coming months. For now, ensuring compliance with PS 19/29 is enough to keep the industry occupied.