How much is enough: When and how firms review their platforms

We often say that no two advice firms are the same, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to reviewing your platforms.

We carried out a straw poll recently to gauge how often advice professionals refresh their platform due diligence. Respondents had the option of either quarterly, half yearly, yearly or ‘we don’t, once is enough.’

Some 75% of people said they carry out due diligence on their platforms yearly, with the rest of responses split equally between every quarter and every six months. No one said they never refresh their platform selection, which is reassuring in our line of work.

While hugely unscientific, we think there is some nuance within the results.

When we chat to planners and paraplanners on this, we tend to find that the annual review process means different things to different people.

Some firms we speak to carry out a review of their platforms every year, but this acts as more of a sense check that the platforms they’re recommending to clients are still suitable.

Then, at the two-year mark, they’ll do ‘proper’ or more thorough due diligence. This is with a view to potentially moving away from existing platforms, and/or trying out a new proposition.

Frequency of due diligence will also depend on whether firms are being ‘pushed away’ or compelled to replace their current providers, due to service issues or lack of functionality.

Others are ‘pulled’ to new or different platforms, perhaps due to something new coming to the market or changing requirements as a firm scales.

Our take on ‘how often is enough’

There are also those that choose a different starting point altogether – rather than at set intervals, they’ll look at platforms on a per client basis, whenever they take a new client on.

Business might be placed on the same handful of platforms, but the review point is triggered by the clients’ needs specifically.

We’re of the view that due diligence can be done on an ongoing basis, in the background, as part of regularly keeping up with what’s going on in the market.

Peer review and chatting to firms with a similar mindset can often trigger someone to look again at a platform that’s previously been discounted, or proactively research a platform you’re hearing good things about.

Platforms are bringing in developments all the time. Sometimes these will be minor or overdue, sometimes it’ll be more efficient ways of doing things, and some can make a big difference for clients.

Equally, the structure of the platform market continues to shift – platforms get bought and merged, pursue different strategies or announce the often dreaded replatforming exercises. And that’s on top of the basics like pricing changes, functionality and service.

But we also believe ongoing due diligence doesn’t have to be a massive headache.

Analyser exists to centralise the process as much as possible, getting the data from platforms so you don’t have to.

The system has also been built so that once you’ve gone through the process, it’s very quick to refresh this in Analyser so you’re always making decisions off the latest data.

So how often is enough?

For us, it’s easier to identify changes and developments as you go, rather than in one big exercise every year. As our digital director Terry Huddart says, it’s like mowing the lawn – easier when it’s little and often, rather than wrestling with the mower when you’ve left it too long.

How Analyser can help
–  Refresh your due diligence in seconds – here’s how
– Have a look at our latest Adviser Briefing for platform market updates and latest developments – updated quarterly
– Stay up to date via the resources on our content hub
– Don’t have an Analyser subscription yet? Find out more, take a free trial or sign up
– Want some one-on-one time with the Analyser team to ask specific questions or get a demo of a particular process? Book some time with the team here

Start using Analyser for free.

Try Analyser for 14 days and pay nothing

No obligation to continue | No payment details taken | Data safe and secure