But, while in many industries this is the case (as any former travel agent will tell you) the direct path has not always been the cheapest when it comes to the fund management industry.
Indeed the industry as a whole tends to focus significantly on the intermediary channel. Which is why M&G’s announcement that it plans to launch an online service for direct clients later this year raised a few eyebrows on Monday; is this an attempt by the fund giant to open up a new channel through which it can distribute its product?
According to Jonathan Willcocks, global head of retail sales at M&G Investments the answer to that question is a resounding no.
He told Portfolio Adviser the new offering is squarely aimed at existing direct clients.
“We have a very large direct customer base many of whom have been clients for many years. These are clients with paper-based contracts, but who deal online in many other areas of their life. We decided it was time to bring M&G into the modern world,” he said.
"how much client money is stuck in such funds throughout the industry paying excessive fees?"
Asked why the firm had decided to launch the service now, Willcocks said it had been planned for some time, but added M&G recognised that it had a duty of care to its customers and that there was a need to provide the right value-for-money option to these clients.
And, judging by the numbers it is a business worth protecting. According to M&G it has over 190,000 direct clients of which around three quarters have portfolios of £5,000 or more; a sizeable business.