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AXA Wealth has introduced several changes to its Elevate platform.
Among the changes is an improved stock broking facility offering greater functionality and reduced costs through a new aggregated trading service provided by Winterflood Securities.
Using a tiered structure, aggregated trading prices could be as low as £5.50 for exchange-traded funds (ETFs), compared to £7.50 for non-ETF trades. These figures are based on aggregated trades. Under the previous pricing structure, the platform charged £12.50 each ETF trade.
David Thompson, managing director, AXA Wealth Elevate, said: “As the platform market matures, technology and service are increasingly important battlegrounds for platform providers. We are determined to stay ahead of the game and respond to the needs of advisers who rightly want platforms to help them better service their clients.”
He added: “The improved stock broking service is in response to adviser demand for enhanced and more cost-effective options to trade ETFs, investment trusts and equities. The introduction of aggregated trading for the first time will provide lower trading costs.”
Following the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review at the start of this year (which has put a greater emphasis on fund transparency and cost), there has been a steady growth in the number of IFAs and other intermediaries making use of ETFs. The introduction of lower ETF trading costs on AXA’s Elevate platform is a further reflection of this trend.
iShares, the world’s largest provider of ETFs and the biggest player in the UK market, recently announced that aggregate assets under management held on UK wrap platforms, including Elevate, had surpassed the £1 billion mark.
At the time of this announcement, Hugo Thorman, Managing Director of Ascentric, a rival platform, commented: “These results show the continued importance of ETFs in providing advisers and discretionary fund managers with low cost access to a range of markets. iShares ETFs on the Ascentric platform were up 72% compared to the same period in 2012, and with assets up 45% since the start of the year, we expect to see this growth trend continue.”