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Our five years on a platform

At Cathedral, we were early adopters of the fund supermarket concept. Having worked with Fidelity FundsNetwork for more than five years, we have now accumulated nearly £55m on the FundsNetwork platform, which is a big proportion of the £170m of assets that we have under advice.

The journey of moving clients’ assets on to a platform is not an easy one. The process, known as re-registration, involves moving clients’ fund holdings on to the platform. This can be a cumbersome process but in our experience it now runs a lot smoother than it did in the early days.

Once the assets are on the platform, the benefits of using the platform include, inter alia: streamlined backoffice administration, quick and easy portfolio valuations and client reporting, reduced switching costs, portfolio analysis, fund research and analysis, consolidated income tax statements and improved management information for your practice.

The FFNW platform is an excellent tool for a finan-cial planning practice that wants to start consolidating its clients’ assets in one place but does not want its clients’ to be exposed to increased costs. It is often said that one of main advantages of fund supermarkets over wraps is that there are not normally any additional charges for using the platform. While this is true for Peps, Isas, Sipps and collectives, care needs to be taken when using any fund supermarket’s investment bond wrapper. The additional fund-based annual management charges that the supermarkets levy can make these funds expensive over the long term.

The fund research tools offered by FFNW are a good starting place to research funds. The management information that FFNW provides brings significant benefits to a financial planner’s practice management. It is possible to see at a glance which of your clients might hold a specific fund and the total amount that you have invested with the different fund management groups.

Obviously, one of the benefits of FFNW is that fund switching can be done cheaper and more easily for the client than under the traditional system.

In terms of planning your firm’s cashflow, the management information provided by the platform will empower you to provide far more accurate forecasting of where your business is going. Big payments received on a regular basis will help your cashflow forecasting, and give you confidence to invest in the future.

Tim Ames is a director and chartered financial planner at Cathedral

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