Fi­nan­cial watch­dog to probe grow­ing on­line in­vest­ment plat­forms

In­ves­ti­ga­tion will ex­plore whether rapidly ex­pand­ing sec­tor is work­ing in the in­ter­ests of con­sumers.

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - Business - Ravender sembhy busi­ness@the­courier.co.uk

Britain’s fi­nan­cial watch­dog is to in­ves­ti­gate the grow­ing on­line in­vest­ment mar­ket amid com­pe­ti­tion con­cerns in the sec­tor.

The Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Author­ity (FCA) will look at in­vest­ment plat­forms used by con­sumers and fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers to as­sess whether com­pe­ti­tion be­tween them is work­ing in the in­ter­est of con­sumers.

The reg­u­la­tor pointed out the plat­form mar­ket has grown rapidly over the last eight years, with as­sets un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion (AUA) for both ad­viser and di­rect plat­forms in­creas­ing from £108 bil­lion in 2008 to £500bn last year.

As part of its probe, the FCA will ex­plore whether plat­forms help in­vestors make good in­vest­ment de­ci­sions, if they of­fer in­vestors value for money and as­cer­tain whether the re­la­tion­ships be­tween var­i­ous plat­forms work in the in­ter­ests of in­vestors.

Christopher Woolard, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of strat­egy and com­pe­ti­tion at the FCA, said: “With the in­creas­ing use of plat­forms, and the is­sues raised by our pre­vi­ous work, we want to as­sess whether com­pe­ti­tion be­tween plat­forms is work­ing in the in­ter­est of con­sumers.

“Plat­forms have the po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits for con­sumers and we want to en­sure con­sumers are re­ceiv­ing these ben­e­fits in prac­tice.”

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