Platforms’ cost structure under threat
Platforms are not currently catering to the needs of their SMSF clients, according to OneVue, with the industry needing to “redefine” platforms and put downward pressure on fees.
With the launch date of the ASX Managed Funds Service (commonly known as AQUA II) growing closer, Connie McKeage, chief executive officer of OneVue, told SMSF Adviser the traditional cost structure of platforms is under threat.
“I think [AQUA II] holds platforms accountable for their fees,” Ms McKeage said. “I think there should be a downward pressure on platform fees, I think some of them are not justifiable.”
“The poor [financial] advisers, they spent the last couple of years looking at how they’re going to justify their value to a client and to charge a particular price. Why shouldn’t we as a platform be treated equally?"
Ms McKeage said she is hopeful platforms will justify their value for clients when AQUA II is launched, adding that platforms will have to “explain why they’re charging so much” and re-focus their value proposition.
“What AQUA II doesn’t do is ... the tax administration and reporting... so there is still value in platforms. The question is at what price.”
Ms McKeage added that it has historically been difficult for some platforms to keep SMSF clients because the breadth and depth of services on offer are not “client-centric”, meaning they don’t necessarily cater to the preference of SMSF investors.
“You are not going to get SMSF clients if the product on offer is just managed funds and listed securities,” she said. “They’re looking beyond the core assets.”
“The whole point [of] SMSFs is it’s self-managed and self-directed and therefore you need to have choice.”
However, OneVue has had “record growth” with SMSF clients, with approximately two thirds of the group's business involving SMSFs.