We have been in business since 1986 and in 2005 we successfully completed a merger between Milbourne Financial Services and Hayden Financial Services to create HFS Milbourne Financial. We now have a team of 20 specialising in wealth management.
At the time of our merger, both companies were using FundsNetwork, Cofunds and Skandia as their investment platforms. As a wealth manager, it is important that we have an efficient investment platform to run our clients funds on and we now use both Skandia and Fidelity FundsNetwork as our investment platforms.
We particularly like a number of aspects of Fidelity FundNetwork’s offering and have been placing an increasing amount of business with it as a result. This has really begun to increase since Fidelity Funds Network introduced its Sipp in 2005.
For clients, name recognition is very important, and we feel that having Fidelity’s name behind the investment platform certainly helps.
When recommending a Fidelity FundsNetwork Sipp, clients like the added comfort that Standard Life is providing the administration back-up. We have also found that the administration provided by Standard Life is first-class.
Having an extensive fund range on the platform is very important, as is the addition of new funds. This is where Fidelity FundsNetwork really scores. New investment funds are often added within days of their launch.
A good technology platform is essential and we find that Fidelity FundsNetwork scores well with its website. Online switches can be done quickly and easily and it is efficient with the issuing of contract notes. Premium history on its Sipp arrangement could be improved, however.
Not everything is perfect. We are looking closely at providing our clients with a higher level of service and information and need to have the facility to increase our fund-based commission from 0.5 per cent up to 1 per cent.
Sadly, Fidelity Funds Network cannot offer this as a standard facility at present on its investment platform, although I am told that this is something it is working on.
We firmly believe that the successful wealth management IFA of the future will be offering a wider range of services and advice to clients and these IFAs will need to be remunerated more in return.
It is important therefore to work with product providers that recognise this and can help us to achieve this goal.
Rod Milne is joint managing director of HFS Milbourne