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Business news update

Selected business and technology news in the advisory market



Kymin Financial Services launches robo-advice tool

Newport-based Kymin Financial Services has launched Kymin Direct, an automated online investment service via Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office (iO) Personal Finance Portal.

The service will target clients with between £1,000 and £50,000 to invest in ISA and GIA savings. It does not involve clients interacting face-to-face with the team of advisers unless they request it.

People choosing the Kymin Direct service will be guided through an online process to determine their risk appetite and then offered an appropriate investment portfolio supplied by SEI Asset Management.

The risk profiling tools have been developed in partnership with Oxford Risk.

Investments made via Kymin Direct will be available for selected Kymin advisers to view, so they can monitor activity. All investments and selections made will have a complete and comprehensive audit trail. Anyone trying to invest more than the £50,000 limit at any one go will trigger an automatic alert to the Kymin team, allowing them to make direct contact to ensure clients are making wise decisions based on their financial situations.

Robin Hall, managing director, Kymin, (pictured above) said: “The government’s FAMR review last year highlighted the gap in easy-access investment routes for people with relatively modest sums of money to invest. We wanted to do something to address this and Intelliflo’s Automated Advice offers the perfect solution.

“We believe this service will complement our existing offering by delivering instant investment options without the need for face-to-face advice yet with the comfort of knowing that fully qualified advisers are just a click away should they be required.”


Fairstone Group enters another buy-out agreement

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Fairstone Group has entered into a downstream buyout agreement with Lofthouse Gate Ltd, based in Wakefield, Yorkshire.

Founded in 2005, Lofthouse Gate offers advice across the financial planning spectrum, in particular providing clients with specialist pension and investment planning for SMEs and their staff. The deal brings total revenue of £850,000 to the Fairstone Group and additional funds under advice of approximately £90million.

The firm will transition to Fairstone’s core technology platform as well as the client acquisition programme, which will look to acquire new clients through an advanced SOE programme and reactivate dormant clients, ensuring continued contact with their advisers.

Lee Hartley, CEO of Fairstone Group, said: “We are very pleased to have a company of this quality join the Fairstone Group.  Lofthouse Gate’s team of advisers and support staff will now be able to leverage the strength of Fairstone’s system efficiencies, which will benefit both the front and back office, saving valuable time for the advisers and ensuring clients receive the very best financial advice.

“For us it is vital to have both a business and cultural fit with the companies who decide to join us.


PFS survey highlights threats and opportunities to advisory firms

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The cost and uncertainty of regulation and compliance remains the biggest threat to the success of financial advice firms, according to a Personal Finance Society (PFS) survey.

The 2016 Member Survey received 1600 responses and three quarters of financial adviser’s identified the impact of regulatory and compliance costs as one of the biggest threats to their business over the next 1-3 years (75%), up from 72% in 2015 and 67% in 2014.

It is the fifth year in a row that regulation and compliance costs have topped the survey’s list of major concerns facing the financial advice profession.

PFS chief executive Keith Richards said: “Despite the efforts of regulators and government, through the introduction of the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR), to assure the sector that it will tackle regulatory barriers and costs in order to help increase access to advice, it is clear there is more to be done through the introduction of tangible change.

“The barriers created by inefficient and burdensome regulation continue to strangle the personal finance sector, thereby restricting consumer access to the financial advice marketplace, leaving millions unprotected and left to fend for themselves.”

“As the FCA and government continue to consult on key proposals resulting from last year’s FAMR, I’d urge them to act on the feedback and pragmatic solutions offered by the sector on how best to address the barriers, and introduce meaningful change which will in turn assist millions of consumers in their long-term life planning.”

Brexit and a general economic slowdown was the second biggest threat identified by PFS members surveyed (34%). A similar number of respondents identified execution only and online simplified advice as a major threat to their business (33%), up from 22% in 2015.

Complications from implementing EU regulations (29%) and a lack of new talent/available skilled trainees (22%) were also identified as major threats in the short term.

Opportunities arising from the Government’s pension reforms were considered the biggest opportunity for advice firms in the next 1-3 years (59%), followed by referrals from professional connections (48%) and higher professional standards (36%).

While the ranking of the three biggest opportunities remained unchanged from 2015, advisers were much more downbeat about the short-term prospects for economic growth. Just one in five advisers identified economic growth as an opportunity for their business in the next 1-3 years (21%), down from 40% in 2015.


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