Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan

Platform One is a UK and international investment platform service.

It has been designed to deliver a secure, high quality investment platform for the UK and international marketplace.

Via Platform One, advisers and their clients from around the world can access the benefits of a UK regulated wrap platform.

The service enables financial advisers to consolidate and manage all their high net worth clients’ investments in one place – hence the term ‘wrap’ platform.

Overview

Platform One offers what looks to be three core services, each providing access to a wide range of products, funds and services via the platform. 

  • The UK service is available to authorised UK and offshore advisers requiring a platform for client assets held in the UK. This means transparent fee-based Retail Distribution Review (RDR) compliant solutions.
  • The international service is offshore to the UK, and provides a multi-currency, client agreed fee-charging service. 

    There is no initial fund fee, and 100% of any fund annual management charge rebates made by the fund manager are credited to the underlying client’s cash account.
  • The global service is also offshore to the UK, and offers a “traditional” (read “expensively damaging”) commission service, with no explicit adviser charges.

Platform One have recently launched the International Plus Offshore Service operating out of the Isle of Man, for financial advisers and clients from around the world who need to access an open architecture multi-currency platform that offers different types of global assets at a fixed dealing cost.

Platform One state that this traditional model offers a “great deal of flexibility in terms of the fees that advisers are able to take – front load commission on the purchase of collectives is available in addition to a client agreed annual service fee.”  They go on to state that: Moreover rebates/trails from funds are paid to your commission account as opposed to being credited to the clients cash account.”

Platform One is regulated by the FCA, and in 2016 won the Finance Awards Best Global Wrap Platform.

Platform One state that their Hallmark Savings Plan is a secure, innovative regular savings scheme for individuals working internationally, who want to make regular savings personally or through a company group pension scheme.

The savings plan may be denominated in US dollar, GB pound, Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen, Swedish krona (SEK) or Euro, which is an attractive feature.

In the UK, the Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan provides access to transparent fee-based solutions and investments that are RDR compliant.

For overseas advisers where RDR does not apply, Platform One provides a “traditional” commission-based alternative, and you know our views on that (see above!)

The pros

  • Full flexibility with full withdrawal or full access in the early years without penalty
  • No commission, and no hidden charges onshore
  • Full transparency of costs leads to lower charges than bond based options
  • No term required, therefore no surrender penalties

The cons

  • This is a fee driven product which must be paid at outset
  • Minimum investment amounts required and regular trading could become expensive
  • Outside of a pension, many countries do not recognise any tax concessions
FAQs
What are Platform One's fees and charges for Hallmark?

At first glance we were impressed by the RDR compliant offering, and don’t get us wrong, the Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan is cheaper than many alternatives, but when we looked at the fees in a little more detail, we realised that they can soon add up!

Minimum Establishment Charge: £500

We are led to believe that advisers can charge more than this, and so this fee likely varies from adviser to adviser.

Annual platform charge: 0.30%

Annual Portfolio charge: Euro 78

Adviser charges: 1% - 1.5%                 

Fund Manager charges*: 1% - 1.5%

*ETFs and other low cost investment products are available which would reduce these charges

Surrender charges: Zero

Total charges could be between 2.5% and 3%, depending on the underlying investments selected.  

Charges, as you know, can potentially create a severe drag on performance, which will impact your investment returns.

Is the Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan flexible?

Unlike the contractual regular savings products offered by the life companies - such as Friends Provident's Premier Savings Plan and RL360's Quantum - which can have high cost structures coupled with little flexibility regarding premiums that you have to pay into the policy, or investment choice, the Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan service offers a scheme for both personal savings and pension contributions that provides some flexibility.

Clients can stop and start contributions as circumstances dictate, or if they so decide, and assuming one is signed up to the RDR compliant relatively low-cost version, it’s simple to operate.

What is the investment choice with Hallmark?

Within the plan, clients or their advisers can choose from over 5,000 risk-rated funds covering all the major world markets and investment classes.

The funds section of Platform One's website contains performance statistics that are updated monthly.

Fund prices are updated daily, and fund fact sheets on each fund are also available for download.  

Customer reviews
A decent option IMHO

I wanted flexibility in terms of stoppping and starting saving - and that was really key for me.  I get this with Hallmark and so far I'm quite happy with how everything's performing.  Have to say - having looked at some of the other reviews on your site it seems I deffo picked the best of a rotten bunch!
More expensive that I was led to believe

I thought there was no commission on this product but I think there was? It's worked out more expensiev that I thought which has impacted on my portfolio.

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan

The Platform One Hallmark Savings plan looks to be a good offering and a portfolio can be built from as little as £50 per month.   

The UK RDR compliant version looks good - but overseas expatriates are likely to get a less competitive and transparent version.

We believe that there are more cost effective, more transparent and better performing investment options available for the well-informed international investor.

If you’re looking for the strongest possible growth on your investments, and you don’t want that to be undermined by high costs, or you are uncomfortable with your adviser accessing investments through an insurance wrapper and/or receiving kickback commission payments, then you may wish to consider alternative options. 

As an example, index trackers are not only lower cost, but they typically perform better over time, giving you better returns.

They don’t, however, pay your adviser high up front commission costs through insurance bonds or ongoing splits of management fees, which is why you often don't get told about them! 

If you’d like a fee-and-obligation-free review of your current Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan, or your portfolio as a whole, simply request an X-Ray Review™.

This is more than just a second opinion – it gives you the facts about the total charges you have paid, the performance of your funds, and any exit penalties that lurk within - coupled with clear guidance on your best options moving forwards.

“Thank you AES International for helping me and my family with your low cost no-nonsense approach. It is refreshing!”

Kristian Petersson

“With this sort of service you also expect to be paying very high fees, but it’s just not the case. I would definitely recommend AES.”

Jake van den Dries

“In the short time that I’ve been using AES I’ve made nearly ten thousand pounds and couldn’t be happier!”

Jackie Pym

    Request your X-Ray Review™ today!

    Because you deserve better results - nothing less.