Platforms in the UK – Digitalisation of processes

By Mark Aldous | 08 February 2024 | 2 minute read

Continuing our Platforms in the UK 2024 series, we examine how third-party platforms have responded to advisers’ demand for digital document submission processes.

Being able to do business digitally is a primary concern of financial advisers; 72% of advisers want a fully digital set of processes. However, not all platforms are able to deliver this. Encouragingly, we have seen some make great strides in this area. In our report, Paper Trails to Digital Highways, we looked in detail at the document submission approaches of such platforms. Most allow financial advice firms to update charges, set up or change income drawdowns, set up regular withdrawals and manage investment portfolios online. Scanned original forms are typically needed to set up a power of attorney and to provide a birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate. Ill-health forms and trust amendments also require a scanned document.

The heat map below shows the percentage of processes for which documents can be submitted with no signature, an electronic signature, a scanned signature, or a paper form with a wet signature. Where percentages don’t add to 100%, this is down to some of the 74 processes considered not applying to that platform.

Our key takeaways

  • The number of paper forms required by platforms has fallen by 60% in the past three years.
  • The largest platforms by assets are among the most digitally enabled. The largest 7 platforms by assets are among the top 10 for digitised processes. This challenges the view that larger firms are slow to change.
  • NextWealth named AJ Bell, Fidelity Adviser Solutions, Quilter, Transact and True Potential Digital Process Champions for 2023. They have fully digitised at least half of their processes (meaning that they require NO signature), AND they need a paper form for less than 10% of processes (scanned or returned in the post).


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