The Aviva-owned platform Navigator would not be following the lead of rivals BT and Asgard by dramatically increasing its access fees, according to Tim Cobb, Aviva’s newly-appointed head of marketing and public relations.

Cobb, formerly Aviva head of product, shifted to his new role last week following a “corporate reshuffle” that led to the departures of Simon Morgan, head of public affairs, and Kate Williams, general manager marketing, last Friday. He said Aviva watched “with interest” the recent debate about the increase in platform charges by some of its competitors but would not be following suit. “We will be working out how to make Navigator more attractive and competitive rather than using the threat of reducing the list as a cudgel to get more money out of fund managers,” he said. “Our advisers want choice. We won’t say [to a fund manager] that unless you pay this amount you won’t be on our list. Having said that, it is important we work with managers from a marketing perspective – the more we promote them, the better it is for the fund managers and Navigator.” He said Navigator’s ‘shelf space’ fees could increase but only as part of a regular review of Aviva’s business activities. “It’s just business as usual for us,” Cobb said. He said Navigator’s current ‘shelf space’ fees were $6000 per funds manager and $2250 per each of that manager’s products, which helped defray the cost of research. Earlier this month Asgard, one of Navigator’s main competitors, revealed its list of 11 ‘preferred partner’ fund managers who were selected after a controversial tender process. Fund managers who made the Asgard ‘preferred partner’ list agreed to a higher rebate to the platform in exchange for certain distribution privileges. BT is also said to be currently seeking higher rebates from fund managers for inclusion on its wrap platform. Navigator has also added eight new funds to its Personal Investment Plan offering which take effect next week. The new funds are: UBS Australian Equity Income Fund; Vanguard Australian Shares High Yield Fund; Acadian Wholesale Global Equity Fund; Centro Direct Property Fund International; Deutsche RREEF Global (ex-Australian) Property Securities Fund; IOOF/Perennial Property Trust; AV China Opportunities Fund, and; Discovery Core Income Fund.

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