At Lowland Financial, we already aim to provide an overview of client affairs and I feel uncomfortable with the idea of using one wrap for everything as instinctively it seems at odds with my impartiality and desire to remain independent.
I have had dealings with Cofunds but my knowledge primarily relates to FundsNetwork. Historically, we were good supporters of Fidelity so they were the obvious platform to go with.
We spent considerable time re-registering existing holdings, so now virtually all our Isas and Oeics, etc, are on FundsNetwork.
Overall, they deliver accurately the fundamental investment services we require and individual client reports are generally accurate, so clients are generally well serviced.
However, I have a number of issues with the services they provide to us. FundsNetwork’s web functionality seems to have stood still.
I would like to see online a statement of contributions paid to date for client reporting and for capital gains tax calculations. I would also like to see income paid to date and the historic valuations – something that insurance companies already offer.
There is too much reference to Fidelity on its web and statements. This s confusing, for instance, when cheques are payable to Fidelity for new investments.
Being given the ability to store and retrieve quota-tions would also help for the audit trail.
The Fidelity website has considerable functionality for anyone to access. However, you need to log out of the adviser-only part to access many of the other tools, such as quotes and fund selection which is frustrating.
Finally, with global warming and trying to save on the mountain of paper, how about getting all platforms and fund managers to include an option on application forms for minimal paperwork?
More broadly, a key issue with supermarkets is the inability to move from one to another. Facilities elsewhere are potentially more beneficial to clients. For instance, fund switches are 0.25 per cent at FundsNetwork but free at Selestia.
The ability to move would improve competition but FundsNetwork and others know they have got the business for the foreseeable future and it is too much hassle or cost to make a switch. This is an industrywide problem but it is certainly not treating customers friendly.
Graeme Mitchell is managing director of Lowland Financial
FundsNetwork says: “Thanks to Graeme for his feedback and support. We are currently developing a number of enhancements to our web services including improving navigation to find existing tools, as well as launching new ones, such as a CGT calculator.”Have you fallen in or out of love with your platform? Email will.henley@ centaur.co.uk with your story