Smaller platform players continue to make gains against their institutional competitors, according to Investment Trends' latest report.
Netwealth and HUB24 were top of the platform pile in 2018 according to the firm's annual benchmarking and competitive analysis report.
It ranked the two smaller players at the top in terms of functionality. However, the difference at the top seems to be shrinking, with Investment Trends noting the gap between first and second had been narrowed.
Meanwhile, BT Panorama - debuting in the report - grabbed third spot, and was recognised for its online business management prowess, ranking first in the category.
Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi said Australia's platform market continued to innovate and develop new functionality in the last year despite facing difficult regulatory conditions.
"Many platforms have lifted their game to help financial advisers improve efficiencies in their practice," Choi said.
"Many improvements are made with the goal of helping advisers reduce their admin burden while lifting client engagement levels at the same time. Notable developments in 2018 ranged from improved cash management tools to client portal enhancements."
Choi said the report also recognised the growing influence of managed accounts, noting 16 platforms now offered managed accounts solutions. He added platforms needed to provide advisers with dedicated model manager portals given their increased prevalence.
"While many managed accounts platforms do provide model managers with access to a dedicated model manager portal, there is scope to improve the breadth and depth of functionality and reporting without sacrificing usability," he said.