It has not been hard to choose a wrap for my clients. My 20 years’ experience as an IFA has taught me to embrace change. With lots of companies merging and being taken over it is increasingly difficult to select a company or product with the confidence that they will be around in one or two years’ time. Coupled with my individual client proposition, it was imperative that I adopt a change in investing client assets.
My previous employer had an arrangement with Cofunds to offer a branded or flavour of the month selection. The problem with this was that it was never properly managed. The client purchased the fund, changes were never made and the portfolios always ended up out of balance.
There was no option to restructure the portfolio and Isa recycling was an administrative headache, not to mention that most IFAs needed to earn a living from commission and that was not going to happen by servicing a portfolio in this fashion.
After much research we concluded that Axa’s Elevate has features that are essential in today’s environment. Elevate offers a platform with an RDR-ready charging structure via its explicit charging selection. It has a full selection of tax wrappers, access to a good selection of investments (including ETFs, investment trusts, stocks and shares), OBSR model portfolios and adviser model portfolios.
Elevate has an almost unique facility to rebalance and upgrade portfolios each quarter. This is achieved by using Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson) as consultants to produce a risk question-naire that leads to an asset-allocation model. OBSR has then takes those models and builds respective portfolios.
These portfolio models are monitored on a daily basis. The rebalance facility is at the push of a button across all the client’s portfolio and I can include or exclude individual wrappers in the one rebalance.
In addition to the actual platform features, it was essential we have good provider support and Axa is well known for its relationship management and technical help. Further still, its commitment to the market and financial strength made this product a natural choice.
The nature of my business demands that when dealing with clients who in the main come from professional connections, I am providing optimum advice and service. Axa’s Elevate wrap allows me to administer funds within a fair environment and provide a service that is essential in today’s arena.
I have used other wraps, however, and none of them demonstrate transparency in remuneration – with particular reference to the total expenses ratios – overall charges and risk as does Axa Elevate. An added bonus is that the fund manager rebates on offer in the platform can be as much as 0.75 per cent.
As for avoiding the problem my old employer had with Cofunds, there is flexibility to change investments with the click of a button, proper client management, regular remuneration and the facility for ad hoc remuneration. Isa recycling is also achieved at the push of a button.
I recommend any IFA get involved with wraps and in particular have a look at Axa’s offering. Elevate needs one signature from the client to open the account and has a facility for adviser and model portfolios, portfolio scans and explicit charging structure. The documentation is easy to understand and clients do not get bogged down with paper-work from lots of providers. More importantly, the client knows who is getting paid, how much and what is it for.