Nearly all (91%) of advisers say poor service from platforms impacts their day-to-day work, Parmenion research has revealed.
Technology and investment solutions business Parmenion unveiled a research report today (23 November) in conjunction with The Lang Cat, revealing how far short of expectations many adviser platforms are falling.
The report, The Impact of Poor Platform Service, is based on qualitative and quantitative research this year with 212 members of The Lang Cat's adviser panel.
The research found that over the last 12 months, 88% of advisers needed to apologise to at least one of their clients on behalf of a platform, and that poor service delivery from platforms impacts 91% of advisers every day.
Meanwhile, one in three advisers confirmed they had stopped using a platform provider because of poor service.
Advisers are most commonly having to contact platforms around post-sale servicing issues (such as switches or pension withdrawals), to chase business held up in existing queues (typically transfers and letters of authority) and to sort out technology glitches and process challenges.
Despite an overall worrying picture, Parmenion noted that there are a few bright spots, with some better feedback from advisers about their relationships with their primary platform providers.
Parmenion is urging fellow platform providers to be more transparent about their service experience to support adviser and consumer expectations, and in turn, drive up standards.
Chief executive Martin Jennings said: "We know that trust in financial services is too low. But to be trusted, you must act in a trustworthy manner. And when part of the chain is broken, trust is eroded.
"This research lays bare the challenges advisers have in delivering their services to their clients and reveals the extent of the unseen cost of poor service across our sector. And of course, the only person that is paying for that, is the client."
Chief marketing officer Sarah Lyons commented: "In the era of Consumer Duty, service must be a top priority for all financial services firms. It is disappointing that so many advisers, working hard to deliver outstanding outcomes to their clients, are being let down by many of the platforms on which they rely.
"It is very difficult to assess platform service before experiencing it. It is also true that good service to one adviser might not mean good service to another.
"We are calling on the platform industry to be more open about their service delivery, and to work together to improve it. Many of the challenges relate to sector level issues, such as transfers. If we can understand exactly where service is falling short, and what impact this has on customers, we can collectively raise standards across the adviser platform space."
Lang Cat insight director Steve Nelson added: "Gone are the days when provider service used to just mean who could answer the telephone the quickest. Our research proves that service means different thing to different firms and different roles in the profession. People, processes, and technology all combine to give a unique view on what an individual needs and expects from the services they use.
"Ultimately, advice firms use platforms to help make them as efficient as possible. That's the theory anyway. It is no surprise to see service becoming an increasingly important selection factor in the research and due diligence process when you look at some of the impacts that a poor service experience, whatever that may mean to the individual, can have on a firm."