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REVIEW SUMMARY

Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan

Platform One is a UK and International platform service, launched in 2011 by a group of established financial services firms. It has been designed with UK high-net-worth clients in mind, and also to meet the growing needs of the international market-place.

Platform One aims to provide advisers and their clients access to the benefits of a UK regulated wrap platform with good service standards.

Their UK services are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Platform One is registered in England and Wales. Their registered office is in Peartree Business Centre, Cobham Road, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 7PT.

Our Verdict
A Closer Look
FAQs
Customer Reviews

Platform One's services seem to be broadly classified under two categories:

  1. UK specific
  2. International

Under their UK offerings, they provide:

  • UK platform services
  • Cash management services
  • Commercial partners and
  • Bespoke facilities.

Their International offerings include:

  • Overseas services
  • International plus services
  • Global services and
  • Commercial partners


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” commission service, with no explicit adviser charges.

Features of the Platform One Hallmark savings plan:

  • 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 we do not recommend that.

Please read the 'expert verdict' section of this review for more details.

Additionally, here's a free guide that can help you achieve better results. In this guide, you'll learn:

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  • A real-life example of why you should never try to outguess the market
  • Why a fund's past performance is not enough to predict future returns
  • Why you need to focus on what you can control and why this leads to a better investment experience
  • Why you should accept the markets for what they are
  • What can impact behaviour and make people seek instant gratification

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The Pros

> Full flexibility with full withdrawal or full access in the early years without penalty
> 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
> Many countries do not recognise any tax concessions
What are Platform One's fees and charges for the Hallmark savings plan?

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 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 are the investment choices 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 are also available for download.  

More expensive than I was led to believe

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

Expert assessment of Platform One Hallmark savings plan

The Platform One Hallmark Savings plan looks to be a good offering (and the UK RDR compliant version also looks good), but international professionals are likely to get a less competitive and less transparent version.

We believe that there are more cost effective and better performing investment options available.

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.

If you already have a Platform One Hallmark Savings Plan and it is worth £250,000 or more, we strongly recommend you seek a Second Opinion to ensure you are on track to get and keep the life you want.

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