Advisers are questioning their membership of support service provider SimplyBiz in the wake of recent cost increases, saying the breadth of services offered is declining.
Money Marketing understands adviser members were asked to provide their fee income details to SimplyBiz through a questionnaire earlier this year.
SimplyBiz’s monthly subscription is currently set at a guaranteed-for-life cost of 2.5 per cent of annual turnover plus VAT.
This means advice firms that have seen an increase in turnover have had their fees adjusted.
The minimum monthly fee is £190.81 plus VAT and the maximum monthly fee is £654.19 plus VAT. Those fees will increase by five per cent or the rate of inflation, whichever is higher, on 1 January each year.
However, one adviser speaking to Money Marketing says: “[SimplyBiz is] changing its propositions, it is changing what it delivers and some things we get for free are also becoming paid for, which pushes costs up.”
The adviser says: “SimplyBiz has cottoned on to the fact it hasn’t asked people what their fee income is for some time. Firms are rightly turning around and saying they will not pay double for the same amount of work.”
One adviser tells Money Marketing they were last asked for income information around three years ago.
It is understood risk-profiling tool Dynamic Planner will no longer be included in the membership offerings. Advisers using it will have to pay privately from next year.
Zero Support consultant Phil Young says: “If you build your business around Dynamic Planner, it’s very hard to extract yourself from it.”
Compliance firm Apricity founder Cathi Harrison is aware of an increase in SimplyBiz adviser members who are not satisfied with its offerings.
She says: “A lot of firms this affects are also smaller, which makes things more difficult for them.”
Money Marketing understands compliance provider Threesixty has also fielded multiple enquiries from advisers looking to switch support service provider.
SimplyBiz confirms the 2.5 per cent turnover cost has remained unchanged since its launch in 2002 and members are asked “periodically” to confirm their latest business turnover figures.
Advisers have been given 30 days’ notice and costs will more than double for some.
SimplyBiz currently provides compliance services to around 3,500 firms.