Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports
AKG Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports cover selected companies operating in the Platform Operator Rating Sector.
Purpose of Reports
In the UK, financial advisers are required to consider the financial strength of organisations with whom they deal. Others also need information on which to assess platform operations.
AKG Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports are designed to meet the information needs of advisers. The reports seek to cover the primary platform service providers operating in the UK intermediary market.
Styles of Report Published
Two different styles of report are published:
- FULL Reports - For each of the platform operator companies in the market which participate in the production of the reports, a FULL report is issued, containing detailed analysis of all relevant aspects of its long-term business operations, together with a comprehensive set of AKG ratings - Financial Strength Ratings at an overall Platform level; together with Supporting Ratings for the key areas of Image and Strategy, Service and Annual Review.
- SHORT Reports - For remaining platform operator companies where there is sufficient intermediary market demand, a SHORT report is issued, containing an abbreviated analysis of the major aspects of its long-term business operations, together with a Platform Financial Strength Rating.
Each report collates relevant information from a range of sources such as a company’s regulatory returns, its report & accounts and material provided by the companies themselves, and incorporates expert independent assessment. For FULL report companies, the process is augmented by regular meetings and communications with AKG.
Rating Only Approach
For some platform operator companies which are assessed and rated by AKG no report is produced. This is due to a low level of market demand for the additional supporting details delivered by means of a report. However, the same methodology is used in the production of ratings for such companies as is used for those assessed on a public information basis and which have a SHORT report issued.
Ratings for platform operator companies are contained in the AKG Rating Portal together with some background supporting information and these ratings form part of the wider rating population delivered through leading third party selection systems.
To Purchase Reports
AKG Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports can be purchased online for immediate PDF delivery at £23.50+VAT for each report.
The complete set of Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports can be purchased online as a Report Bundle at £325+VAT. As an added benefit, the purchase of a Report Bundle also provides a year’s online access to any new or updated reports that may be issued.
Alternatively, you can contact AKG.
Definition of Platform Service Provider
Defining the extent and boundaries of the platform market or what organisations can be deemed to be platform operators can be difficult and regulatory bodies acknowledge that activities differ among platform models and that the core function of a platform service may evolve over time.
Following various policy statements the FSA (now FCA) introduced a definition of a ‘platform service’ as a service which:
- involves arranging and safeguarding and administering assets: and
- distributes retail investment products which are offered to retail clients by more than one product provider; but is neither:
- solely paid for by adviser charges; nor
- ancillary to the activity of managing investments for the retail client.
Review Process and Report Issue
Each report is updated at least once a year, following extensive assessment of the latest statutory financial data, together with other financial and supporting information and, in the case of FULL report assessments, further interrogative elements.
However, the underlying AKG assessment process undertakes ongoing monitoring and review of assessments and ratings throughout the year. This means that whilst always taking a ‘long term view’ of financial strength and adding depth and richness of data through the annual revision process, the assessments, ratings and their reports are part of a constant, dynamic process and can be reissued if required at any time.
Availability of Information
AKG has attempted to obtain as much detailed information (particularly of a financial nature) as possible about each of the companies profiled in this series of reports. However, the depth of information available to AKG varies from one company to another, for the following reasons:
- the information about platform providers which is available within the public domain varies greatly from one company to another.
- the extent of additional information made available to commentators such as AKG (on a voluntary basis) varies greatly from one company to another.
- some companies have disclosed information to AKG, but on a confidential basis, so that AKG is unable to publish it within the relevant report.
AKG's aim is to publish comparable information, presented in a consistent manner, for each company. Where this has not been possible, due to the information not being forthcoming from the company concerned, blank tables are shown. AKG's approach to rating companies which do not supply relevant information is naturally much more cautious than for those that do.
Format of Reports
Guide to AKG Ratings
A detailed explanation of AKG's methodology underlying the determination of the ratings published in its series of Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports can be found here.