"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."
The FCA's Investment Platforms Market Study will investigate competition between platforms as use by financial advisers and consumers continues to increase.
Many platforms offer investors and their advisers a range of information and tools to help them make investment decisions and some also offer their own investment products. As part of the study, the FCA will explore whether platforms help investors make good investment decisions and whether their investment solutions offer investors value for money.
FCA research shows that the platform market has steadily grown over the last 8 years, with Assets Under Administration for both adviser and direct platforms increasing from £108 billion in 2008 to £500 billion in 2016.
The FCA will also look into relationships between platforms and other platforms, advisers, asset managers and fund ratings providers.
The study will look at both investment platforms and firms that provide similar services by allowing investors or their advisers to access retail investment products through an online portal.
This Market Study follows on from the Asset Management Market final report published in June 2017, which highlighted a number of potential competition issues in the platforms sector.
The FCA aims to publish an interim report by summer 2018 which will set out preliminary conclusions and any potential remedies to address concerns.
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.”