For many years, we have been providing integrated reports for clients from our back-office system and supermarkets while waiting for wrap technology and charging to create an unchallengeable moment to move. For us, that moment was when we first saw the detail of the Ascentric wrap.
We used the selection process as part of building our education towards the type of service we wanted to provide. We felt it was vital to create a matrix analysing each point to the wrap and then having every provider assessed against each question. Being focused on client value, the clear theme that emerged was that provider-owned wraps were more expensive, often with less innovative technology and flexibility than start-up wraps.
The other core feature we were looking for, given our City clientele, was the ability to purchase any listed asset as well as listing legacy and other assets such as a client’s share values in their own company. This feature has proved popular in a macabre way with our banking clients.
The apprehension regarding adopting wrap is documented over and over again and we were no different. The benefits it has brought to clients and quality of our relationship with them has been outstanding. The value added to our clients via the ability to instantly view the totality of their wealth and assess their risk accordingly has been immense.
The self-branding available via the Ascentric platform, the ability to buy any asset and the platform’s strong non-custody assets’ proposition have been essential. The result is that client loyalty and service they are receiving are both multiplied. The quality of work we can do for our clients, particularly on risk assessment via the aggregation of the wrap, has been massively improved, with hugely positive results, given the last 18 months.
There have been few glitches and problems in setting up with Ascentric. Big problems were mostly caused by Sipp providers getting used to working with the platform rather than the platform itself. The entire Ascentric organisation is utterly IFA-focused and worked rapidly to assist.
Rollout was helped by introducing clients to wrap only where we felt it was appropriate and of benefit to them. A wholesale shift would be administratively difficult and, we believe, inappropriate for some clients. In future, we expect to adopt wrap for the vast majority of new clients, especially taking into account that legacy policies can be held on the Ascentric wrap. We are eagerly awaiting Ascentric creating its own Sipp so that we need not go through the cumbersome additional tier of external trustees, many of whom have their own agenda.
James Roberts is a partner at Partners Wealth Management