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.
This sector covers companies positioned as international platform operators or as providing a significant integral component of an international platform service operation. i.e. companies that might be seen to compete in the delivery of international platform services and capability.
In the UK, financial advisers are required to consider the financial strength of organisations such as international platform operators that they might use. Others, including those advisers in other jurisdictions, also need information on which to assess international platform operations to meet regulatory and/or best practice responsibilities.
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.
The FCA definition of a ‘platform service’ is 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.”
Given increasing commonality of regulatory requirements, best practice and advisory business models, this definition can also be broadly applied in the wider context of (the) international advisory environment(s).
AKG International Platform Financial Strength Assessment Reports are designed to cover the primary entities which fall within AKG's description and are active in the intermediary market. They are thus primarily designed to meet the information needs of advisers.
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, including the international advisory arena, 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 an International 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 International 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.
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 International Platform Financial Strength Assessment 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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