Business news update
Selected financial adviser business and technology news
• PFS extends adviser development programme
The Personal Finance Society (PFS) is to extend its new financial adviser development programme, having received more than over 300 registrations of interest in the five weeks since its launch.
Some 88 individuals are set to commence the training in the first half of this year. The first cohort begins this month, followed by four additional cohorts in May, across Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and London. The programme is being run in conjunction with FWD Training & Consultancy.
The PFS said it is in discussions with hundreds more interested firms, and is planning to deliver the programme to additional groups from September.
PFS chief executive Keith Richards said: “We have been delighted by the response from financial advice firms, who are clearly looking for new pathways to develop their staff and support the next generation of financial advisers across the country.”
Richards said the professional body is committed to driving new initiatives that address “the very real and ongoing risk of future skills shortages and the evident need for succession planning”.
“Our development programme removes many of the barriers facing firms that seek to develop new talent in our sector, and provides a tangible programme of training and support.”
Comprising a combination of apprenticeship funding and PFS sponsorship, the structured training programme lasts 18 months, during which participants achieve the necessary qualifications and skills required to become a fully qualified financial adviser.
All six diploma exams (R01 – R06) are included, as well as all support material including textbooks and remote learning support. Regional exam revision sessions will be made available to all participants, as well as soft skills workshops delivered by an accredited trainer.
The programme’s launch follows the development of the new Financial Adviser apprenticeship standard, which was sponsored by the PFS and approved by the Department for Education in November. It offers employers up to £9,600 in financial assistance to contribute towards the development of a competent financial adviser.
The PFS programme is available to any employed member of staff who works a minimum 30 hours per week, with additional assistance available for firms seeking to employ new recruits into the programme. It is currently available to employees based in England, while policy clarification is sought for apprenticeship funding in the devolved regions.
An employer contribution of £900 will be required for staff aged 19 or older, but for firms with less than 50 employees where the starting age is less than 19, no contribution is required. There is an additional £1000 incentive available for any size business enrolling an existing or new employee aged less than 19 into the programme.
Registrations of interest can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details and information, visit www.fwdtraining.com/pfs.
• LEBC reports profit increase
National IFA, pensions and employee benefits consultancy, LEBC Group reported an operating profit increase to £2.1 million (£1.8 million, 30 September 2015), a rise of 15.4%. Turnover increased to £15.4 million from £15 million (+2.7%) with significant additional net cash generation. Cash at bank increased at year end by over £1.3million while the company paid dividends in the year of £800,000.
Jack McVitie, Chief Executive of LEBC Group said the results and particularly the strong net cash generation gives the company the platform for its next growth spurt.
“We continue to invest in information technology to deliver solutions for more clients in the most efficient way, as we engage with clients through technology. Whilst there is industry wide interest in ‘robo’ advice, we believe more in providing ‘bionic’ advice (the use of technology and human interface to deliver appropriate client solutions). This combination is the only way to sustainably embrace the growing advice demand in a profit positive and cash generative manner”.
The company has continued to develop propositions through its three divisions, Individual Savings & Investments, Longevity Risk and Group Savings & Investments.
• Greystone Financial Services deploys Intelliflo’s iO
Greystone Financial Services is to deploy Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office (iO) as its business management system.
Neil Alexander, managing director of Greystone Financial Services said the firm was embarking on “a major programme of expansion and acquisition over the course of the next few years”, in preparation for that it was “crucial” that it adopted a web-based management system that was “capable of being configured for businesses which, whilst they may sit under the same group structure, could elect to work in very different ways.”
Intelligent Office was selected he added due to “the inherent flexibility and functionality of iO, the ability to tailor it precisely to our needs” as well as “the combination of sheer competence and enthusiasm that the Intelliflo people brought to the process”.
Greystone Financial Services is an integrated wealth management group with chartered status, managing over £1 billion of assets for clients. It is part of Focus Financial Partners, LLC, a leading international partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms
• Scottish Widows launches protection cover on LifeQuote
Scottish Widows has launched its flexible life insurance products, Scottish Widows Protect, on LifeQuote, the specialist protection service for advisers.
This will enable advisers to search, quote and apply for Scottish Widows protection products on a single platform. The Scottish Widows products now available through LifeQuote include:
Life & Critical Illness
Critical Illness only
Family Income Benefit
Family Income Benefit & Critical Illness
Business Protection applications including Relevant Life
• Tenet Group reports 24% growth of net profit
Tenet has posted a year of further growth in its annual report and accounts for the twelve months to 30 September 2016. Headline turnover increased by 13% to £154m with earnings* of £1.5m, resulting in a 24% increase to the group’s net profit of £584,000.
Within their three key support propositions, TenetLime, the group’s non-investment network, increased turnover by 33% to £40.4m, Tenet’s investment network, TenetConnect, held strong turnover at £111m and its directly authorised proposition, TenetSelect, grew the number of firms serviced by 10%.
The group said it continues to invest substantively in its IT infrastructure, with £1.3m spent on fixed assets, whilst retaining a robust balance sheet, with £22.7m of cash, no external debt and £30.1m of net assets.
Tenet Group chief executive, Martin Greenwood, said: “During a year of political surprises, uncertainty around MiFID II and changes within regulatory capital rules, we have been very pleased to deliver ahead of our financial plan.
“We’ve now posted our fourth consecutive year of profit growth and are continuing to invest in the future, supporting advisers to choose the right advice model and regulatory status for them and their clients.”
• SimplyBiz’s Verbatim Growth funds receive RSMR rating
The Verbatim Growth Fund range, numbers 3 to 7, run by SimplyBiz Group’s Verbatim Asset Management, have received a Fund Range Rating from RSMR.
The risk managed, multi-asset funds are managed by John Husselbee and Paul Kim of Liontrust.
Verbatim said RSMR conducted an in-depth analysis of the funds and through meetings with the management team, and has now added the funds to its Research Hub. Geoff Mills, managing director of RSMR, said: “RSMR uses a range of criteria when considering a fund or range of funds for a rating, looking at both quantitative and qualitative aspects including performance, the fund management team and the investment process.”