Platform provider netwealth has maintained its number one position in terms of overall platform functionality, followed by HUB24, Colonial First State FirstWrap, Asgard eWRAP and Macquarie Wrap (including Perpetual Private Wrap).
This was one of the key findings coming from the annual Investment Trends 2016 Platform Benchmarking & Competitive Analysis Report, which compared 19 leading platform and wrap providers operating in Australia.
Commenting on the report, Investment Trends senior analyst, King Loong Choi said that unlike previous years, where platform providers’ development budgets had been primarily spent on compliance costs, the 2016 analysis revealed a marked shift towards innovation.
“After two years of hibernation and a focus on compliance, platform innovation has exploded in 2016,” Choi said. “Our latest analysis found platform providers’ development efforts have been centred around two themes: improving planner efficiency and raising client engagement.”
Examples include OneVue rolling out a full dashboard refresh that can be customised by users, to enhance planners’ efficiency by providing them with easier access to actionable information about their business and clients. While netwealth has started pre-populating its application forms with data from XPLAN, and HUB24 has built the ability to pre-populate applications from any system.
However, Choi said an important trend to emerge from the analysis was that of the client portal, which is an important part of the client engagement experience and a key driver of client retention.
He said the platform industry had recognised this, with many providers making enhancements to the client portal by broadening the functionality available and improving the experience for clients.
“There is room for providers to further enhance their client portal offerings,” Choi said. “Platform providers can further differentiate their offerings through the level of investment research available, transaction capabilities, adviser permissions, navigation and layout.”
Choi added that ease of access was another important aspect of client portals, and while mobile apps can help facilitate this, Investment Trends found that only three (AMP, HUB24 and Macquarie) of the 19 platforms it reviewed, actually provided this to planner clients.