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This week’s business and technology updates

Selected business and technology updates announced this week.

Retirement Advantage launches protected index portfolio

Retirement Advantage has launched the Retirement Advantage TRA 80% Protected Index Portfolio (Morgan Stanley), in response to the demand for drawdown products following pension freedoms, and which is designed to provide some protection for investors against market falls.

The fund is available as part of the company’s Retirement Account and aims to achieve a balance of risk and volatility suitable for retirement investing, using a multi-asset passively managed strategy containing funds from Vanguard UK and iShares across a number of global index-trackers and ETFs.

The fund looks to limit stock market risk by ensuring that an investment can never fall below 80% of the highest unit price the fund has achieved. The protection is provided by Morgan Stanley using put options, with additional protection built in to ensure the fund never becomes cash locked. If the unit price increases above the previous high, the protected amount locks in at 80% of the new higher level.

Retirement Advantage launched its Retirement Account in late 2015. It combines drawdown and a cash account for flexibility and access, with an annuity providing ongoing income, within one product wrapper.

The Account enables investment using the drawdown element only, or any combination of drawdown and annuity. At any point during retirement, customers can buy a guaranteed income using the annuity element, or can choose to switch annuity income into the drawdown pot. The company says that the blended approach “offers more flexibility and better death benefits than currently available from stand-alone annuities, along with the ability to manage tax during retirement and pass on wealth tax-efficiently to beneficiaries”.

Andrew Tully, pensions technical director, Retirement Advantage (main picture) says: “This fund has been designed with pension drawdown customers in mind, and aims to provide a high level of protection from major falls in stock markets. The fund can’t become cash locked, which is important in periods of high volatility, as we are currently experiencing.

“Combining this fund with the benefits of the Retirement Account is a compelling proposition for anyone looking for a degree of security and flexibility from their pensions.”

Voyant launches smartphone and tablet-friendly Voyant Adviser Go

Voyant UK has launched Voyant Adviser Go, new software based on the original Voyant Adviser solution, which can be used on iPhones, tablets, android and other touch-screen devices.

In addition, Voyant says, there are new features and user interactions, designed to foster greater client interaction, such as goal based planning and goal priority options.

Client data is synchronised across both platforms, so advisers can access existing plans using either version of Voyant, as they share the same calculations engines, tax rules, and business logic. This enables users can move between both applications even when working on the same plan.

Current license holders of the Voyant Adviser solution will receive Voyant Adviser Go for free.

Freeman,-Bob-cutoutBob Freeman, Voyant UK chief operating officer, says: “We designed Voyant Adviser Go as a complement to our existing Voyant Adviser financial planning solution to give users more flexibility and choice across all the latest modern technology devices.

“It’s really quick to learn and easy to use, excellent for fact finding, building lighter financial plans, and client presentations. And importantly, all the firms that have piloted the new integrated solution have given really positive feedback and are really impressed with the ease of using the combined interface”.

Ascot Lloyd appoints Iain Balchin as CFO

National adviser firm Ascot Lloyd which provides financial planning, wealth management and corporate benefit solutions, has appointed Iain Balchin as its chief financial officer (CFO).

Balchin joins the firm from St. James’s Place, where he spent three years as executive director of finance, during the period in which the company transitioned into the FTSE 100. He has more than 18 years’ experience in the financial services and wealth management sector, managing large teams of financial professionals across multiple geographies and providing support to board level personnel.

Prior to St. James’s Place, Iain held senior finance positions at BNP Paribas, AIG, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse. He was also Finance Director of Corporate Banking for Lloyds Banking Group.

Intelliflo creates new PFP support team

Eatock, Nick preferred photo hi resIntelliflo has created a new team to meet the growing demand for its Personal Finance Portal (PFP) service. The portal, which allows clients of advisers using Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office (iO) software to access their financial status digitally at any time, was expanded last year to include access to bank accounts and savings plans held outside of the adviser relationship.

Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s executive chairman says the new Intelliflo PFP implementation team has been created to help advisers to transition to the system and access its full benefits.

The team’s mandate is to:

•  Project manage the adoption of PFP with advisers.

•  Ensure advisers’ businesses are PFP ready.

•  Provide guidance to advisers about how to market PFP to their clients.

•  Provide guidance to advisers about how to access quality data to meet individual client needs.

Eatock adds: “PFP allows advisers to engage with clients in a digital format that is easy to use, understand and access. Pretty soon clients of advisers are going to expect this sort of service as the norm and we want to ensure our own clients have the support they may need to get this up and running in an efficient way as soon as possible.”

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