When we first heard what wrap platforms had to offer, they seemed too good to be true. One administration system with all the available tax wrappers, unfettered investment choice, performance analysis, fund research tools, discounted funds and more. Sadly, it was too good to be true.
In this country, we are yet to see a wrap system that offers this level of functionality.
However, a couple of years on, with experience and knowledge under the belt, we are happy with the offerings from two providers – James Hay and Transact, both of which provide a functional, efficient and transparent open-architecture platform.
Wrap platforms in themselves are not the panacea of financial planning but they do allow us to provide a significantly improved level of service to our firm’s clients.
As a wholly independent fee-based firm, Cavendish Medical is responsible for providing specialist financial care to those in the medical profession. New clients that come to us have generally been sold a series of products over their working life and no longer require new products.
What they actually need is a strategy detailing how to best draw monies from the various pots in the most efficient way. Wrap allows us to manage this process in a simple and clear manner, with the ability to charge the platform for our work.
Our market research indicates that the clients are happy that our fees can be invoiced to the wrap account rather their current account.
As a firm, we are witnessing a change in the type of clients that we are attracting. Those individuals that may have taken guidance from a stockbroker or private bank now have a third option – a professional fee-based financial planning firm.
This would not be impossible without wrap but I think it has certainly made it easier.
The IFA community is now recognising the benefits that wrap systems offer and demand seems to be increasing. It is for this reason that I urge the wrap providers to consider carefully the use of their budgets.
For all the money that is being invested in wrap technology, staff training and strong processes to accept the higher volumes of business must remain paramount.
For the success of wrap to continue, high quality support and not just systems need to exist.
Joe Clark is a director at Cavendish Medical