Don’t be fooled into thinking that platforms are all about whizzy technology. While there’s demand for more automated and better integrated platforms, good customer service still reigns supreme for financial advisers, according to our most recent UK Adviser Platforms: Market Overview report.

We asked advisers to rank from most to least important three key elements of adviser platforms: low cost, good customer service and modern technology.

Almost half of advisers regard good customer service as the most important factor for platforms. This view is even more prevalent among smaller advice firms – those with five or fewer advisers. This is understandable – in these smaller firms the advisers themselves are far more likely to contact platforms about snags, whereas advisers in larger firms typically have support staff to deal with platform issues and can afford to take a loftier more detached view.

Having modern technology turns out to be the least popular of the three elements for advisers. Newer entrants to the platform market extol the virtues of their slick modern technology, but advisers tend to stick with the tried and true, in platforms as in other products and services. The fear is that the shiny new technology comes at the expense of adviser support, either now or later as the platform scales up.

Platforms find it hard to provide everything advisers want: efficient technology, impeccable customer service and all at the lowest possible price. Deciding what to prioritise makes innovation much harder than it should be. But even with the best technology, the advice process can be messy and makes human intervention inevitable. So at the end of the day, it’s still customer service that wins out.

Platforum recently published UK Adviser Platforms: Market Overview, our annual review of the platform market looking adviser platform use, the alternatives to platforms and the major trends. This includes Q4 2023 platform data and our quarterly Platforum User Leaderboard. For more information, please get in touch.