Investment Trends has released its 2014 platform report, which compares 466 "key characteristics" of 12 major investment platforms.
Originally made available to Investment Trends clients in December, the report highlights increasing regulatory compliance burdens, growing adviser satisfaction across the board and platforms' focus on developing new tools and streamlining existing functionality (including facilitating mobile support).
Due to rising compliance costs - which account for 55% of platform development spend on average, up from 51% in 2013 - overall expenditure on new functionality has fallen 22% from the previous year. Despite this, the report notes that adviser satisfaction with their primary platform is actually at its highest in eleven years, suggesting that investment in new functionality is paying off regardless.
According to Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker, the highest-rated platforms are those that are "functionality-rich", focusing on improvements in usability/interface, portfolio management tools, customer support, reporting, mobile functionality and client access. In this regard, Colonial First State FirstWrap has taken the lead, followed closely by netwealth, HUB24, Asgard eWrap and MLC Wrap & Navigator.
"Planners are expressing greater freedom of platform choice in 2014 and switching away from those who don't meet their needs," Peker said. "So, despite constrained budgets, platforms are fighting to efficiently provide the best functionality that meets the needs of their users."