Tight race among top master trusts: report


By Krystine Lumanta

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Competition between Australian master trusts has narrowed, however, the leading offerings all have different strengths, according to the latest research from Investment Trends.

The “December 2013 Platform Benchmarking Report”, which compared the seven Australian master trusts, revealed there was less than a percentage point in scoring between first and third place.

CFS First Choice was the top-rated master trust, followed my MLC MasterKey Fundamentals and Asgard Elements.

The report found the top three master trusts differed in strengths.

“The race to be the number one master trust is very tight,” Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker told financialobserver.

“CFS First Choice’s strength was its reporting and transaction tools, while MLC MasterKey stood out for its decision support tools, such as modelling tools, reporting as well as the unique product offering in terms of a capital and longevity protection feature on the platform now.

“Asgard Elements’ key strengths were integration, mainly thanks to its link to AdviserNetgain, its decision support tools and transaction tools, so it’s a very tight race, but they’re edging each other out in slightly different ways, which is definitely a positive.”

It was the first year the report created a category for master trusts.

The report also acknowledged new enhancements and innovations from master trusts, naming AMP North’s e-learning as the best new functionality.

“Each year we go to all the platform providers to look at the new developments they’ve built and we pick out one function as the best new functionality each year [based on] what’s been built, what’s been well implemented and what’s addressed planners’ key needs,” Peker said.

“One of the key adviser demands off our previous planner reports is that they want support to be improved and for the education piece to be easier, mainly because they want the training around new things to be more efficient.

“A lot of platforms have webinars and videos, but still have a lot of written documentation, so this is the next step.”

AMP North’s e-learning tool provided interactive training modules that catered to different learning styles, which not only allowed advisers to teach themselves but also helped with the on-boarding process of new measures, he said.

“For smaller platforms, it’s sometimes a struggle to provide support to a large number of advisers, but a tool like this would go a long way in helping them as they won’t need to spend as much money on people to do the training and instead use technology,” he said.

The report was based on comprehensive face-to-face reviews of 25 leading master trust and wrap platforms, covering 454 key characteristics of each platform and its associated service offering.

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