Its range of customers is significant, including Merrill Lynch Financial Planning; National Australia Bank, a bancassurer multi-tie; Principality, the biggest Welsh building society; support services group Threesixty, Sifa, the support group and trade association for IFAs serving the solicitor and accountancy professions; and national IFA M2 Financial.I recently looked at how Sifa is using the Intelligent Office software to operate an holistic advice process, with detailed periodic reviews using a risk-based analysis and asset allocation-driven approach to protecting a client’s interests.The software and functionality referred to below is part of the Intelligent Office system but the data on which it is based has been created by Sifa and is bought from the group as an additional module. Alternatively, the adviser’s firm can create their own.One of the major industry debating points at this time is, does a wrap remove the need for a CM in the long term? In my view, this system demonstrates the benefits of using an adviser client management system for generation and delivery of reports and having such wrap platforms as advisers choose to use interfacing with that system.I firmly believe that an adviser client-facing service must be owned or controlled by the adviser, who can plug any platform into the CM systems. This removes concerns over long-term issues surrounding client ownership. It also positions the adviser’s offering at the heart of the client relationship, with all the benefits I identified in my last column in Money Marketing on May 11.This process allows the adviser to track the whole basket of a client’s portfolio more effectively, for example, VCT, cash account, property and group pension, that might be held at the platform or indeed even arranged by another adviser.The normal entry point into the client record in the Intelligent Office system is the dashboard. This can be configured in different ways to provide different users with the information which is most relevant when they log on to the system.By default, this will normally open to the last client worked on but can equally be used to pull up any other client record.The client dashboard provides a wealth of information on the client you are working on. This includes the client’s basic details as well as any relationships, for example, partner, dependents, etc, a measure of client activity, any open opportunities (pending advice/sales opportunities), a portfolio summary, including plan type and fund sectors, as well as information on any outstanding proposals, client activity and client profitability.From this point, the adviser enters the tools area and then portfolio construction. With a new client, the adviser would obviously complete the fact-find. With an existing one, you can recall the current record and start by determining the risk profile for the need to be discussed or for a periodic review to reassess the risk profile.These can be for investments or pensions, individually or both areas jointly. At this point, the user identifies if any new money is to be considered or they can review all existing assets.The attitude to risk for the specific advice process being conducted is set by moving a slider which has statements defining attitude to risk. In other implementations of Intelligent Office, this can link to the fact-find module which has a configurable ability to set attitude to risk based on responses to a set of user-defined questions.The adviser then defines the objectives for the discussion with the client, including reviewing tax position, identifying allowances used or unused, for example, Isa, CGT, that might be taken into account and, if partner relationship is to be considered, is this a single or joint advice process? The system will then present a list of all of the client’s existing holdings, the agreed client attitude to risk and a weighted average of the risk profile of the actual investments.The system shows each of the client’s investment, including the underlying funds. A risk level can be set for each underlying holding. These can be defined by indiv-idual users or set centrally at firm level. Each of the levels set will be carried through the client report.A pie chart representation of the portfolio is presented on screen to demonstrate the area where the portfolio might be overweight or underweight.From this, the adviser can then model which assets to retain or sell to achieve a portfolio more in line with the client’s attitude to risk. A tolerance level is built into the system and if an adviser proposes changes that will take the portfolio outside the tolerance level, this is flagged on screen.New investments are defined only in terms of generic investment types at this stage. The user will revert to the fund Sifta software (see Money Marketing, August 8, 2005) later in the advice process to select the actual funds.If an adviser tries to proceed with a portfolio outside the tolerance, the adviser is prompted to identify why the portfolio is outside the tolerance and the reasons given are transferred to the client report. After identifying the model portfolio, the system requires the adviser to explain the reasons that funds are being disposed of and the tax consequences, if any. Having justified any disposals, the adviser uses fund Sifta to select specific funds for new investments.After choosing the specific funds to match the proposed portfolio, the adviser selects the appropriate tax wrapper, for example, Isa, bonds, Oeics or pension, and enters this into the system and if this will be a new product or an addition to an existing one. This information is then held pending the client agreement proceeding.At this point, there is a validation of the specific recommendations to check they match the generic asset allocations agreed earlier. Having completed this process, the advice is locked and a client report generated using a document wizard with default text which can be altered as and when appropriate.Once the report has been delivered to the client, it can be accepted in full or in part. In the later instance, information from the advice processes being modified can be revised and re-used.Details from the accepted recommendations are then populated to the Intelligent Office system, to be processed as proposals. The client report is generated as an RTF document which, once created in the system, can be locked so it cannot be altered. In addition, certain text in the report itself can be locked so it cannot be altered in any part of the process.Intelligent Office is £125 for non-adviser users, reducing to £75 a month for each adviser. The Sifa data content costs £25 a month for one RI and the Fund SIFtA service from £75 a month. All figures quote are subject to VAT. For discount information, see www.compleye.info.
Portman Building Society
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