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Life of Pi

Satisfying our due diligence and the overriding obligation to treat our customers fairly were the key drivers in our wrap selection process. The variety of approaches and flavours in this market and the lengths that some players go to gloss over gaps and weaknesses in their propositions meant that this is not an easy process.

Pi Financial has always found that the starting point for any proposition selection process is the customer. They key objective is to make sure that the wrap we use is suitable for the majority of our customers and the proposition allows us to execute investment advice that is suited to the circumstances of individuals, with tools that accurately match and maintain portfolios so that they reflect each customer’s attitude to risk.

This has always been the key factor for us rather than very wide fund choice as our core belief is that performing in line with customer expectations will be achieved by focusing on asset allocation and avoiding excessive fund risk rather than by picking winners and seeking out esoteric and higher-risk funds at the fringes of the fund universe.

Security and sustainability is also crucial. Our advice is long term in nature and often involves very big investments so we believe that customers face enough risks without exposing them to any unnecessary risks through platform choice. As we are asking customers to take a huge leap of faith when they consolidate all their assets with a single organi-sation, we believe that our customers expect us to work with one that has a proven track record and a secure financial footing.

This does not mean that an organisation needs to be big but it does mean that they need to be self-sufficient financially, demonstrated through their results over a number of years, that they can make maintain and develop technology and still make a profit without compromising service.

We have listened long and hard to the seductive claims of full wraps and have weighed this against the need to make sure that we recommend investments suitable to the experience and needs of investors. Our conclusions is that full wraps are inappropriate for all but our most experienced customers and that a broad but manageable range of funds with an accompanying investment process is what we need rather than very wide investment choice with limited supporting infrastructure.

Taking this approach helped to produce our short list of propositions. The next part of the process was to select the solution that helped to deliver value to our business. Some time ago, we recognised that focusing on remuneration levels was incredibly short-sighted. Our business model is all about using sharp propositions to capture funds under management and leverage margins by using wrap technology that helps us to drive down costs.

We have worked with Skandia over many years and have now made the transition to the new Investment Solutions platform. Its unique combination of business and customer- focused technology, unrivalled experience in successfully managing huge volumes of fund deals makes it our perfect partner for the future.

Tim Sutcliffe is managing director of pi financial

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