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Due Diligence Hub launched by AJ Bell

15 May 2017

AJ Bell has launched an online Due Diligence Hub that outlines the key areas adviser firms should focus on when selecting the right investment platform for their clients’ needs.

The new Due Diligence Hub has been set up to help firms research and conduct due diligence, uses a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach but offers a variety of views on what robust due diligence looks like.

Behind the attention grabbing approach, the Hub features independent content and commentary from FinalytiQ, the lang cat, Platforum and Defaqto. There is also a link to download FinalytiQ’s Advised Platform Report, which includes extensive data and analysis on the financial performance of 26 advised platforms.

AJ Bell’s own due diligence factsheet, based around FCA guidance and the questions that AJ Bell is most commonly asked by advisers, is also included as a resource available to download from the Hub.

The factsheet also includes key information on the company’s financial strength, service, functionality, investment choice and pricing.

Billy Mackay, marketing director at AJ Bell, said that the FCA’s Thematic Review TR 16/1 in 2016 had shone a spotlight on the quality of due diligence carried out by adviser firms on platforms, which at a time when the industry was reporting millions of pounds of pre-tax losses prompting concerns over the profitability and financial stability of some platforms, alongside re-platforming challenges had made robust due diligence “absolutely imperative”.

Mackay said, “Platform due diligence has become something of a minefield over the past few years and unfortunately there is no single formula that can be used to navigate the process.

“Our teams regularly deal with due diligence-related enquiries and this has enabled us to identify the all-important areas that advisers most regularly seek information on.

“Alongside this we have collected the views of a range of well-known industry experts.

“By sharing all this information on our Due Diligence Hub we aim to make it easy for firms to perform vigorous, smart due diligence and gain greater comfort that they are choosing the most suitable platforms for their clients.

“Industry estimates suggest that £200 billion of customer assets are due to be migrated to new technology in the near future. Having already gone through a re-platforming exercise ourselves, we know it is not easy, and there will inevitably be issues and challenges for any firm that switches to new technology.

“In light of this it is no surprise that more advisers are at least considering a due diligence review.”

The launch of the Hub comes days after Old Mutual announced it had dropped its technology provider IFDS for its rival FNZ due to mounting costs and ahead of plans to float Old Mutual Wealth as separate entity to Old Mutual on the stock exchange.

The Due Diligence Hub can be visited HERE

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