Having been involved in the prelaunch of Cofunds, dealing with the much vaunted launches of business-to-consumer platforms earlier this decade, I know the platform world and the potential benefits offered to advisers and their clients. I have placed business with several of the platforms and so am acutely aware of their benefits and shortcomings. To bolster this, I welcome any dialogue with platform providers to ensure I keep up to speed with developments.
The recent launch of Novia into the wrap market is significant. The platform has been created to deliver a continuous suite of features with the ultimate aim of allowing the adviser to become a better wealth manager.
Already, the range of assets that can be held on the platform encompasses virtually anything an adviser is likely to need, ranging from shares, exchange traded funds, collectives and offshore holdings. At the heart lies a client cash facility into which all rebates from holdings are placed and from which all charges are paid.
This allows complete transparency of costs at all times and is precisely what is being demanded by the regulators. Free and unencumbered registration off the platform is also included which, in terms of treating customers fairly, makes the platform fully compliant.
Perhaps the best feature of the Novia platform, however, is the quality of the people behind it. The Selestia platform - now subsumed within the Skandia brand - marked a substantial improvement in terms of platform development when it appeared, but very few of the team who developed it still remain.
A good number of them are to be found at Novia and the knowledge and experience they bring to the market is significant. In my dealings with them, I am continuously impressed by their enthusiasm and can-do attitude. I find this extremely refreshing and in line with my future vision for our business.
Within the next couple of years, I believe Novia will have delivered important additional features which will assist our business, such as cashflow modelling, back-office integration and inclusion of all client assets.
The speed and efficiency of the technology is impressive and will allow us to continue to develop profitably, ultimately delivering a superior service to clients, which is the biggest win of all.
Ken Taylor is director of Mackenzie Taylor Wealth Management