Most of our clients have a unique set of circumstances that drives them towards financial advice, however, there is usually a shared objective – simplicity. This is where an investment platform shines. For example, you can view all your investments in one place, easily monitor performance, and have the same investment portfolio across your pension, investments, and any other accounts in a tax efficient manner.
Another benefit of an investment platform is that they can be cost-effective. A lot of clients can be in old style life contracts with high charges – these have damaging effects on performance. It is often always cheaper buying funds via an investment platform than buying them directly from the fund manager via an insurance wrapper or similar.
What’s an investment platform?
An investment platform can be thought of as a portal to a set of investment funds. Investors can access a wide range of funds/ investments easily and in a regulated way. No further documentation is required and you can have peace of mind that the funds offered have been through rigorous checks and due diligence.
How much can I expect to pay for an investment platform?
Charges will vary for the different types of products you can invest in. If you are only buying and selling funds, some platforms will allow you to do this free. However, the cost of buying and selling them is likely to have been bundled into other administration fees. Some platforms will charge you a flat fee for their services and others a percentage of the investors’ holdings.
If you have a large sum of money invested and you are just planning to hold funds and not trade much, a percentage-based charging structure may add up. However, it may be the best course of action for someone who trades frequently and could otherwise fall foul of high dealing charges.
Other things to consider when picking a platform include the quality of the tools and information that are available, and the breadth of product that you want to invest in. While it is important that you have the ability to buy and sell the assets you want, it is equally vital to ensure that you are not paying over the odds for functionality that you do not need. Ensure that you check whether there are extra fees involved, such as dividend reinvestment charges and transfer fees.
It is important to see a financial adviser help you evaluate the whole of the market so you know the right investment platform for you. There are multiple platforms around, simply finding the cheapest is not always a good idea. The best platform for you will depend on the level of service, trading volume and consolidated tax reporting.
Benefits of an Invest Platform:
- Platforms allow you to spread the risk, investing in a range of asset classes.
- Your investments are in the one place: without compromising on diversity, platforms can combine your investments under a single administration facility. You receive consolidated reports (simplifying your tax reporting).
- Access to specialist investments: which would otherwise be outside your reach.
- Flexible fees: some platforms provide flexible fee structures and certain fees may even be tax deductible within particular platforms;
- You retain control: over where your money is invested, and in consultation with your financial adviser, you can create the financial investment strategy that is best suited to your financial needs and goals;
- Your adviser can focus on your needs: and not on the administration of your investments. From a financial adviser’s perspective, platforms streamline the demands.