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Mattioli Woods to launch FNZ-powered platform

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Sipp provider Mattioli Woods has signed a deal with technology firm FNZ to build a bespoke platform to replace MWeb.

Mattioli Woods sales and marketing director Murray Smith says cost is a “key battleground” in the Sipp market and the new platform will allow the firm to pass on savings to customers.

He says: “Our original platform MWeb was built around running pension schemes, we didn’t go and use an off-the-shelf product. Part of our plan is to drive our client costs down and it’s about designing something that provides much greater functionality.”

The platform is due to launch in early 2016.

In 2014 FNZ signed a ten-year “strategic alliance” with rival Sipp firm Hornbuckle. It also provides the technology behind Aviva’s advised platform.

The news comes after retirement income firm Retirement Advantage’s new annuity and drawdown blended product will be powered by GBST’s Composer platform.

The Retirement Account is due to launch imminently and allows advisers to move clients’ funds between a guaranteed income stream and flexible drawdown function.

Retirement Advantage chief operating officer Craig Fazzini-Jones says: “The Retirement Account is our response to the new opportunities created by these changes. We are developing something which is genuinely different, offering the security, flexibility, and access clients are looking for from one product.

“We will continue to support financial advisers by offering their clients a compelling proposition which meets their on-going needs through retirement.”

GBST is also due to power annuity provider Just Retirement’s platform. However, due to Just Retirement and Partnership’s merger the future of the platform is unclear.

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Apple: a stellar technology story

By Ali Unwin, head of technology sector research

Apple recently announced the highest-ever recorded quarterly net profit ($18bn), with the sale of 74.4 million iPhones helping the company deliver $74.6bn of revenue for the quarter ending December 2014. These sales were largely driven by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Highlights included Chinese iPhone sales doubling year-on-year and unit growth of 44% in the US — supposedly a well-penetrated market. Apple ended the quarter with $178bn in cash on its balance sheet, having generated a staggering $30bn in free cash flow during the quarter.

At Neptune, we have been long-term believers in the Apple story, and continue to hold the stock in a number of our portfolios based on the company’s long-term growth prospects. This is predicated on our belief that Apple has proved thus far that it can — unusually for a consumer electronics company — maintain high margins for a sustained period of time, even as adoption of new technology slows down and competitors produce similar-specification products.

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