As we finish the first quarter of 2022, we are looking forward to the landmark delivery of the NextGen platform later this year, and we are working very hard to prepare the market for the switch over. As always when you focus on the future, looking at where we have come from is a great reminder of the journey the market is on with electronic placement.
We recently looked at the statistics over the last five years for activity such as risks bound, endorsements, users etc, and the numbers tell a strong story. Risks bound in 2021 rose by 17%, agreed endorsements by 25% on the previous year, and the number of firm orders bound leapt just over half a million in 2020 (535,495) to 631,847 in 2021.
All of this stems from more usage of the system by more people in more firms. The number of users on the platform rose to just under 20,000 in 2021 (an increase of 18%), while the number of market entities using the platform totalled 389 – up from 339 last year.
The pandemic encouraged further adoption in 2020, but 2021 saw PPL continue to go from strength to strength, reinforcing its position as the primary platform for electronic placement in the London market. Which is great news as we move towards the NextGen platform.
Communication between the market and PPL has always been vital, and that will continue to be the case. With the build well underway, we continue to work with our market SMEs and governance groups to understand what practitioners want, and how best to deliver the cutover.
We are pleased to say that good progress has been made on the build of the Next Gen platform, and we are focusing on delivery in the autumn. In terms of timing, we have always said that we would make the first release available at the time agreed by the market, and that will always be a primary objective for us as we look to the roll-out.
As always, preparation is key. We are making excellent progress engaging with our PPL contacts on this journey, helping to understand what it means for your firm, getting to know the new functionality and features. We know the appetite is there to test Next Gen sooner rather than later, so we plan to run testing in parallel to the build, starting with our SMEs and governance groups in April, giving you time to test it, play with it, get used to it and to become confident with it before the official launch.
We are developing a detailed plan to help the market make the transition, and we are sharing that widely as the platform development continues so that firms and users are fully prepared. The good news is that this time all of us can draw on our previous experience – the wide user experience across the market that is so clearly highlighted in the numbers here. There is a lot to do, but electronic placing itself is no longer new, and we can move forward onto NextGen with more confidence because of that.