Commonwealth Bank Australia’s (CBA’s) dominance in the Australian independent financial advisor (IFA) space is being challenged by BT. Platforms must address the friction of serving clients rather than just being a portal to funds at wholesale prices, according to GlobalData Financial Services

In our 2016 survey of Australian financial advisors we asked who they thought had the most attractive platform package in the market. CBA’s Colonial First State was once again the clear winner, but it appears that the group is in for a challenge from BT’s Panorama platform. With Panorama’s crucial self-managed super funds offering added late in 2015 after our last survey, its impact can clearly be seen. BT significantly narrowed the gap between itself and the market leader in advisor preferences for platform packages in our 2016 rankings.


BT Panorama is presenting Colonial First State real competition among advisors

Q: “In your opinion, which brand/company currently has the most attractive platform package in the market?”

Source: GlobalData Financial Services’ 2015–16 IFA Surveys

BT’s focus on business efficiency and compliance help has clearly struck a chord with advisors. Indeed, this lines up strongly with our survey of advisors, who view ease of use as the single most important feature for investment platforms, narrowly beating out even the range of investment funds. Platforms are no longer simply competing on cost, access, or product range – these have become hygiene factors. Instead advisors are increasingly expecting platforms to address concerns over the time and effort they need to expend on administration and compliance. More investment platforms will need to address these issues or risk being squeezed out of the market.