Rating Sector: Platform Operators

Introduction

AKG assesses and rates companies and other entities within specific peer groups or sectors. Such peer groups are fundamentally designed to reflect how customers and their advisers consider companies for use.

The Platform Operators Peer Group

In the UK, financial advisers are required to consider the financial strength of organisations such as platform operators that they might use. Others also need information on which to assess platform operations.

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:

AKG Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports are designed to cover the primary entities which fall within this description and are active in the UK intermediary market. They are thus primarily designed meet the information needs of advisers.

Rating Sector Origin and Evolution

Traditionally AKG’s focus has been predominantly on life companies. However, in light of the growing impact of platforms and the transformation that this is bringing to the financial services market in the UK, there has been an increasing demand from intermediaries in particular to widen the scope of entities that receive specialist AKG assessment.

Overall, the aim of AKG’s assessments is to provide independently evaluated information to assist in the choices made by the intermediary as well as to help in the understanding and appropriate development of the market. In line with its core focus, AKG’s assessment is primarily focussed on financial strength. AKG considers that a major consideration for an intermediary in considering a Platform provider is the comfort and assurance that can be obtained from an independent, external assessment. It is an important component in seeking to avoid the operational complications and potential brand damage that would be incurred should a chosen Platform proposition encounter any financial difficulties, suffer a restriction on necessary investment to deliver required evolving functionality, or in some other way ‘fail’.

The sector constituents are subject to ongoing review.

Rating and Report Availability

The ratings for this sector peer group are available in the AKG Rating Portal. More detailed assessment information and background together with ratings are available for many companies in reports within the Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports series (the report series which corresponds to this sector peer group), which are available for Purchase online or by Contacting AKG.

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