Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Key findings
Critical success factors
IFAS ARE A KEY DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL
Retail distribution has long been a platform-focused channel in Australia
Assets invested via platforms rose to A$640.5bn in H2 2015
The bulk of retail wealth in Australia is ill-suited to investment via advisors or platforms
PLATFORMS REMAIN THE DOMINANT CHANNEL FOR ADVISORS
Platform features
Fund range is key but a well-rounded platform is also important
Advisors are focused on growth and will want providers that can help them achieve this
Platforms need to be aware that advisors are under enduring cost pressure
The majority of IFAs rely on multiple platforms
Platform alternatives are few and niche but increasingly sought after
The wealth arms of the Big Four dominate the top platforms by use
A gap between use and top ratings suggests some churn in the platform market is likely
PRODUCT PROVIDERS ARE REGULARLY BUT INFREQUENTLY REVIEWED
Advisors do not have the time to review providers more than quarterly or annually
Shortcomings in fund range and performance prompt platform reviews
Keeping charges competitive is key to improving IFA retention
ADVISORS ARE INCREASINGLY INTERESTED IN USING THIRD-PARTY ASSET MANAGERS
AUM under third-party managers is still a fraction of advisors' total client assets
Asset managers should position themselves as having strong specialist expertise
RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT IS KEY
Training is the key support service that advisors seek from platform providers
Keeping up-to-date is a constant challenge and obligation for advisors
Advisors need constant contact with their platform providers
Digital interaction with platforms has become the norm but direct contact is appreciated
APPENDIX
Abbreviations and acronyms
Definitions
Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms
Independent financial advisors (IFAs)
Managed discretionary account (MDA)
Separately managed account
Methodology
Verdict Financial's 2015 IFA Survey
Bibliography
Further reading
About Verdict Financial
Disclaimer

List of Figures
Figure 1: Platforms have matured as a key source of AUM
Figure 2: The Australian retail savings and investment market is dominated by superannuation funds and deposits
Figure 3: Fund range is the top draw in a platform for personal financial advisors
Figure 4: Growth remains the top concern for financial advisors, finally eclipsing regulation
Figure 5: Advisors like platforms that pass on the savings of the wholesale products in the form of lower costs
Figure 6: Almost half of Australian advisors are operating more than one platform
Figure 7: Platforms from the Big Four dominate the market
Figure 8: Colonial First State has the most attractive platform package in the market
Figure 9: A third of financial advisors review their providers quarterly
Figure 10: Investment fund range and cash management accounts will prompt a platform review
Figure 11: Cheaper platforms motivate IFAs to consider switching providers
Figure 12: A majority of advisors are placing some of their client AUM with third-party investment managers
Figure 13: Client preference for specialist advice drives third-party asset management use
Figure 14: Advisors want their partners to help them up-skill in new products and regulations
Figure 15: Product providers should accommodate IFAs' need for regular communication