How big is the total market for retail investments in the UK? There’s granular data on aspects of the market – such as platforms, advice and wealth management. But establishing a figure for the total addressable market means pulling various disparate – often incompatible – sources together.

Any perspective depends on what you’re trying to measure. If you’re analysing the advice market then you’d use one set of definitions. If you’re looking at wealth management you’d use another. These definitions won’t be mutually exclusive. Combining data requires some serious unpicking, particularly when sourced from multiple third parties with their own take on the market.

Distribution channels for asset management can therefore usually be described and measured in isolation, but are fiendishly difficult to combine into a single consistent picture.

In our recent report – UK Fund Distribution: Annual Review – we tied together various pieces of Platforum research to derive a map of the UK retail investing market. We sized this at just over £2tn, accounting for assets that are double- and triple-counted. This includes advised assets sitting on-platform that are managed by a DFM; robo-advice assets that could be considered either D2C or wealth management; and off-platform assets under advice.

We’ll be tracking this map as the market evolves. We expect it’ll get more convoluted. Outsourcing is rising: advisers are outsourcing portfolio management to DFMs and DFMs are consequently outsourcing distribution of their services to advisers. Vertically integrated firms already span multiple segments of the market, offering D2C services alongside advice, wealth and asset management – working within this £2tn market, but extracting revenue from multiple layers.

Market sizing helps to understanding the opportunity and the dynamics across different segments. Only by tying them all together can the complete picture be fully appreciated.