What is an investment platform and what does it do?
20 Mar, 2023

Elton James, Head of Corporate Business at Glacier by Sanlam



Investing via an investment platform offers many advantages – the main ones being ease of use and saving time on admin.  Keen to know more?  Read on…


“You can think of an investment platform as a hub or shopping mall where retail investors are given access to a variety of asset managers and their funds, effectively functioning as a one-stop shop for their investment needs,” explains Elton James, Head of Corporate Business at Glacier by Sanlam.



How does an investment platform work?


By providing access to a wide range of both local and international funds from different managers, in one place, investment platforms make investing easier and remove a lot of the admin.  Together with your financial adviser, you can combine and invest these funds into different solutions on the platform – such as a discretionary investment plan, retirement annuity or an endowment – to create a diversified investment portfolio.  The investment platform therefore caters to your investment needs across your lifetime. Whether you’re in the wealth accumulation phase, or wanting to draw an income in retirement, the investment platform has the solution for you.


We perform a due diligence check on all the funds that we host on our platform, before making them available for investment.  As the administrator, we ensure the necessary compliance, risk management and reporting procedures are in place, so that investors can invest with certainty, efficiency and confidence.  We also provide financial intermediaries with information, and online tools to help free up more of their time to spend advising you, the investor.


Important to note, is that the investment platform does not manage the money on behalf of investors. “We are the custodians of the assets; however, the asset manager remains the manager of the assets and is responsible for the investment performance of the funds. The performance of your investment vehicle – whether a retirement annuity or endowment etc – will ultimately depend on the performance of the underlying funds included in your investment,” says Elton.



Platform vs direct investing


The advantage of using an investment platform is that it makes the investible universe accessible and efficient for an investor. “By having choice and flexibility, an investor can build a portfolio of different funds, ETFs, a share portfolio etc., within the correct product solution. Plus, platforms have preferential fund pricing as opposed to the direct offering – effectively the administration premium,” says Elton.


Using an investment platform through an adviser reduces time and admin. “Pure direct investing, assuming you are building a diversified portfolio, would require an investor to co-ordinate their portfolio across multiple access points, record returns and unit price movements from the various access points, and communicate with multiple points when rebalancing or switching within the portfolio,” explains Elton. “We also provide multiple reporting functionality along with regular statements, tax provisions and certificates, and 24/7 accessibility online.”



How Glacier’s investment platform addresses changing needs


People’s circumstances change, as does the investment environment.


“Glacier’s offering covers the risk spectrum from the most conservative options, e.g. guaranteed return investments to solutions for those willing to take on more risk, such as share portfolios. Within these, the investment platform also offers pre- and post-retirement solutions. This is leveraged by the extensive range of investment options available, allowing an investor to make changes within their solutions to match their needs, and on their financial journey as they move between solutions, without ever leaving the market,” says Elton.



A wide investment universe


“As an investor, you need the peace of mind that your adviser has access to a wide range of funds as well as investment vehicles, and also to online resources. This way you have peace of mind knowing that the solution put forward is the best suited to your individual needs, says Elton.



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This article first appeared on Glacier Insights


@Elton James
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