Adviser Business & Tech news round-up
A round-up of recent adviser business, platform & technology developments. Six reads in 30 seconds or under
Ascot Lloyd acquires Harvard Financial Management
National advisory firm Ascot Lloyd has acquired Harvard Financial Management (Harvard), based in Christchurch, Dorset, as part of Ascot’s strategy to increase its national presence.
Harvard advises on pensions, investment, wealth management, financial planning and life insurance services to private clients and will enhance Ascot’s services in the South of England.
The company said an unspecified number of Ascot Lloyd financial advisers will join the nine Harvard staff in Christchurch “in a collaborative approach to develop the firm’s offering across the wider region”.
Richard Dunbabin, chief executive officer, Ascot Lloyd said the company remained acquisitive and “will continue to look for similar businesses that can contribute to our mission of building the UK’s leading national IFA firm.”
Mark Werner, managing director, Harvard Financial Management, said the move would enable the firm to achieve economies of scale by utilising Ascot Lloyd’s back-office and central functions, “freeing up more time for our financial advisers to focus on the quality of the solutions we offer.”
Skipton aims at mass market through high street advice and digital tool
Skipton Building Society is now able to offer face-to-face financial advice through its high street presence, following regulatory approval being granted to integrate Skipton Financial Services Ltd (SFS), its wholly owned financial advice subsidiary, into Skipton Building Society.
The building society will now offer pension and retirement planning, inheritance tax planning, and investment planning services via a Restricted financial advice service, which nevertheless provides access to over 3,000 funds from 70+ providers.
The Society has already launched a digital life goals tool on skipton.co.uk/life-goals-tool to help customers resolve common financial planning queries. By inputting what they want to save for, how much they can afford to save, and when they want to have their savings by, the new tool produces a bespoke summary complete with next steps to achieve their goal.
A life goals tool then produces a personalised report for people to download which includes a reference number, which enables people to get in touch with the Society to discuss their savings goals further, without having to repeat everything to an advisor.
David Cutter, Skipton Building Society’s Group Chief Executive, said the society was responding to “a growing need on the high street for accessible financial advice. Many providers have withdrawn from this area completely, and others will only see people with significant sums of money to invest. Skipton, the UK’s fourth largest building society, now offers financial advice in one place, for the mass market.”
Novia Global adds 100+ ETFs to platform
Novia Global, the online wealth management service, has added multi-currency Exchange Traded Funds (including Sterling, US dollar and Euro) to the platform.
Over 100 ETFs are now available, including physically backed and synthetically replicated investments from nine leading providers.
The platform aid that additional providers will be added in response to demand. The suite of ETFs will include those listed on both the UK and European exchanges, Trading is aggregated so the cost is minimised by sharing the trading fees with those transacting that day.
The service is being provided in conjunction with conjunction with Winterflood Business Services.
Access to ETFs on the Novia Global platform is fully integrated into the wealth management service and will be available across relevant wrappers. The trading charge for the service will be taken from the cash account and is set at five basis points per order for UK Instruments (subject to a minimum of £5 per trade) and eight basis points per order for International instruments (subject to a minimum of £10, $14, or €12.50 per trade depending on the jurisdiction the ETF is listed in). There will also be a settlement fee, which will vary according to jurisdiction.
Novia Global currently supports advisers and trust companies based in a variety of jurisdictions including the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Europe and Hong Kong.
LEBC furthers its ‘bionic advice’ proposition
National IFA, LEBC Group, has introduced two new pieces of business management technology to help develop what it terms its ‘bionic advice’ proposition, which enables delivery of advice via both people and technology.
The development will enable incorporation of the company’s customer relationship management system, client portal and transactional platform.
Jeremy MacLeod, chief operating officer of LEBC, said: “Essentially we are ‘buying’ two interlinked pieces of technology, Enable and Fusion, from Benchmark Capital group. These are key elements of our bionic advice proposition and stated aim of transforming access to advice.”
Enable, provides the business management system and client portal element aimed at providing a totally integrated, automated and end-to-end solution.
Fusion provides the transactional platform, a combination of Wrap Platform, Discretionary Management and Investment Management services.
As customisable cloud-based technology solution, Fusion will enable LEBC to manage client assets through General Investment Accounts or Individual Savings Accounts, as well as route funds through tax wrappers such as self invested pensions and offshore bonds.
As part of its bionic advice offering, in May 2016 LEBC announced a 50/50 technology Joint Venture with Kerr Henderson of Northern Ireland, with the aim of producing software to enable advisers to work more efficiently in giving advice using intelligent systems for fact-finding and report writing.
Intelliflo Opens Access to Intelligent Office Data
Intelliflo has gone live with an Open API for Intelligent Office (iO), which enables adviser and supplier partners to integrate their own solutions and processes fully with the data and functionality within iO.
Intelliflo’s aim is to allow its partners to enhance their own offerings using the data available via iO.
Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s executive chairman said: “We’ve opened up the iO system to give developers and clients access to most of its features, giving them the flexibility to interact with iO in whatever way they like including the ability to display the information in their preferred version within their own solutions. This is a further example of our mission to remain the leading open technology platform in the UK financial advice space. The breadth of the API is truly world-class.”
See also: Why I’m excited about Intelliflo’s API
Close Brothers Asset Management to use IRESS’ Pulse and XPLAN
Close Brothers Asset Management (CBAM) has appointed IRESS to provide an integrated technology solution to the company’s discretionary, advised and self-directed clients, through IRESS’ Pulse and XPLAN products.
The company also has entered into an agreement with Dunstan Thomas to provide a SIPP administration system, which will be integrated with IRESS’ systems.