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Going Direct isn’t just a Distribution Play. It’s Survival.

In this research paper, we have partnered with independent financial insights business, Boring Money, to explore the changing face of the ‘direct-to-consumer’ for asset managers to distribute their funds in the United Kingdom.

2020 changed the investment landscape across the globe as volatile markets and pockets of significant growth saw record-high numbers of investors open accounts, trading volumes soared and platforms were placed under unprecedented  stress.

At the same time, research from Boring Money reveals that in the UK 9% of all investors today have been investors for less than 12 months. Interest in first-time investing is high and the successful platforms with these newer investors have one striking common denominator – they can all be classed as being ‘digital-first’ and as offering clear ‘mobile journeys’.

Rewind to just 5 years ago and the costs and barriers to access this relatively small market segment of confident hobbyists were substantial and off-putting for many. A few managers attempted to play in the ‘direct-to-consumer’ market, only to retreat. Some sold their direct books to large platform players.

As improved technology reduces barriers to entry, and increasing demand makes the opportunities more appealing, this is a time for asset managers to reconsider their approach to distributing their funds directly to customers – a previously difficult segment to make inroads in.

At Northern Trust we continue to roll out the functionality of our enhanced technology platform, Northern Trust Matrix™, to help asset managers re-assess how they may consider capitalising on the opportunity that digitalisation provides to distribute funds directly.

We believe the asset management industry is about to undergo a digital transformation in which new technology will equally disrupt both fund manufacturing and distribution. In this white paper, we have partnered with independent financial insights business Boring Money to explore the changing face of the ‘direct-to-consumer’ market – we hope you find this an interesting read and look forward to your feedback.

Download the paper to learn more.


Toby Glaysher

Head of Global Fund Services International
Toby is an Executive Vice President and Head of Global Fund Services International, which provides depositary, custody, fund administration and middle office outsourcing services to over 200 asset management clients of the bank.

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