It took a while but, amazingly, wrap has now gathered momentum.
Wrap is simply a service proposition that allows customers to use the platform as a custodian for assets and gives advisers the ability to manage those assets in the most efficient manner.
So which wrap is best? It depends on what weight you put on the relevant features. There are numerous features for consideration but the key elements for me can easily be summarised.
Is there sufficient clout in the institution to drive the best deal on the underlying collectives?
As well as holding assets directly, is there a price feed for legacy holdings?
Does the system have the ability to back-price or value the holdings at any point in the past?
Is it easy to use for customer and adviser?
Can the adviser ascertain and manage all assets according to the capital gains tax allowance?
Can the adviser pick out every client with any specific holding?
Does the adviser have a complete record of every transaction and trade ever made?
Can the adviser show every commission/fee that was paid to them?
Does the system record all communication as an automatic footprint?
Can the adviser automate valuations on every customer for any period?
Can the adviser flag a reminder for all key events such as when gains or losses reach a level?
Can the wrap automatically rebalance the assets to an asset allocation model?
Last, is the company offering the wrap committed to its future and has it been built with the future in mind? Does it have the flexibility and financial clout to change with the market conditions and, when things just do not work like they should, has it the resources and commitment to put this right quickly?
After two years studying wrap solutions, we chose Standard Life’s service proposition and that choice has proved to be justified. The chasing competition will provide an environment for change and development which will only serve the customer and serious IFA.
Peter McGahan is managing director of Worldwide Financial Planning