My clients and I have benefited from the Cofunds’ experience since October 2004.
Before becoming an IFA, I was a broker consultant for another main wrap provider. I could see the benefits of an entire wrap solution for some clients but wrap is not the answer for everyone.
Consequently, I chose Cofunds, mainly because it appeared to be the most mature and user-friendly Oeic and Isa platform available and it had and still retains access to a wide range of ethical funds, which is particularly important to my clients and my business.
Since the transition from boutique Isa and Oeic provider to platform administration, one of the key benefits I have noticed is that clients who previously struggled with the paperwork burden now actively encourage me to use Cofunds for their new Oeic and Isa monies.
In some ways, it has been a revolution for them as well as me. If I were to suggest a boutique provider now, I am certain to face objections and would find it difficult to recommend and implement.
What is fundamental for me is that the decision to use a platform for Oeics and Isas was solely for the benefit of clients, to help them have a clearer view of their investments and to allow more diversified portfolios, without the increased burden of administration or cost.
The benefits to my business were unexpected but welcome. The primary benefit has been the ability to conduct capital gains tax calculations rapidly through readily accessible and accurate data, which has meant that clients can make increased use of their annual capital gains tax allowance rather than relying on an investment bond to keep life simple.
There are drawbacks, however. As my clients enjoy the benefits of the Cofunds experience, their expectations grow, as do mine.
For example, I would expect that a platform that allows you to invest 7,000 into an Isa via a debit card and an online application would allow an Isa to be invested from Oeic funds held on the platform but it does not. Instead, one has to switch funds electronically and then submit a paper application.
From my perspective, I find it difficult to understand why there are different processes for what amount to exactly the same transaction.
It is still very early days in the wrap world and Cofunds currently meets expectations most of the time. However, I am maintaining a watchful eye on all the competition as new platforms come to the market.
Ian Hudson is the founder of Hudson Green & Associates