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Advisers question SimplyBiz membership amid rising costs and declining offerings

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.”

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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.


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I’m a member of a different network and this morning I received a very flashy ‘Boarding Pass’ from SimplyBiz.
    It asked was it time to leave your network? and promised a Fee Guarantee, use of whatever tools i liked. It also asked if i was experiencing spiralling fees!
    It seems to me that any move to SimpleBiz could be out of the frying pan and into the Fire!

  2. Could this be the thin end of the wedge ?

    With the regulatory framework at present putting so much pressure (some justified, the majority not)on a stretched and thinning industry these issues will only get worse, and unfortunately for the client it may soon, get to expensive to engage !

    There is a recurring theme; costs increasing, losses increasing, firms unable to meet liabilities,job cuts, administration standards falling through the floor, and regulatory pressure increasing.

    Also I have heard (so not sure how true this is) there has been, over past number of years, a lot of knowledge and experience that has left the industry leaving key positions filled with inexperience and lacking knowledge.

  3. The article is rather unbalanced, as it does not explain the hard work and breadth of offering from Simply Biz (whether all firms choose to use it or not). The cost of delivery is the issue for all support service, software and network companies, because the weight and breadth of compliance work required is massive these days and change a constant, so it’s difficult to lay the blame at their door.


    There is no doubt that a lot of people live off the backs of the front line adviser and their income generation (from support services and networks to software firms) and it is reaching a point where you have to say stop, or further burden clients with ever more charges for the same service offering. They certainly won’t understand the value of your support services, or any other role in the delivery of their advice offering; you are the only cost they see.

    The pips are squeaking for many and clients cannot and should not have to continue to pay at increasing levels, like they are, for backroom operations (1% per year of an investment portfolio as an advice charge is quite frankly too much, in my view, but at the same time becoming understandable. When the client does eventually say enough then maybe the powers that enforce so may rules and changes will ‘get’ it; myself and many other advisers will be long gone by the time that gravy train finally comes off the tracks unfortunately.

  4. Our simply biz fee’s have increased 140%. in addition, we also pay a monthly compliance visit fee. A recent Simplybiz email states they are committed to keeping their fees low and boast the fact that they have applied the same charging structure for 15 years. That may be true but their fee cap is set to 5% or inflation whichever is the higher. That’s a staggering rate of increase that most small firms will probably never reach. I certainly do not feel I’m getting value for money and will be looking carefully at other compliance services.

  5. I’ve not heard about the loss of dynamic planner, but that would cause me to look elsewhere.

    A lot of the other SimplyBiz stuff is very generic and not especially well written, so needs a lot of adaptation before I would be prepared to put it in front of a client.

    The extras that are included, just about make the package worthwhile.

    I always have a suspicion that it is in the interests of SimplyBiz and others to make regulation as complex as it possibly can be.

  6. my subscription has just increased to £625pm, on top of that I pay £100pm compliance visits @ £100per hour, + £126pm for back office; all for a 1 adviser business. I don’t even read emails they send re new services because I know they are only trying to flog something!
    I can afford it but I am definitely going to compare costs with other service providers – if anyone can recommend one, please do so.

    • Nicholas Pleasure 13th September 2018 at 3:02 pm

      There are quite a lot of small compliance consultants around. They don’t have all the add ons but they do provide a proper personal service…may start investigating for myself.

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