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Pick of the bunch

I started my own firm in 2000. As a directly authorised IFA, I had the choice of which platforms to work with, including Skandia, Cofunds, Fidelity FundsNetwork and Transact.

Historically, I used Skandia for bonds as it was the only one that offered such a choice of funds. The Transact idea seemed to offer everything an adviser could need. Cofunds had the advantage of being owned by four companies and therefore being independent.

I have always fancied myself as a fund picker. I can choose the best funds although I have yet to learn the timing of getting out of funds. These platforms gave me a choice of funds to satisfy the needs of any of my clients, however funky they wanted to be.

Over time, I have put more and more of my business with FundsNetwork as I have found that my familiarity with the website, the nice documentation and fairly efficient administration made it easier for me to do my work.

More recently, it has added a self-invested personal pension and investment bond to its offering. These are provided by Standard Life. It was interesting to see that the most efficient insurance company had linked up with my favourite fund platform. This merely enforced that I had made the right choice.

The website is not perfect. It does not store illustrations that have been produced. Also, I have had some trouble navigating to find certain bits of information and have not found a way of going from client information or e-forms into other parts of the site.

I do not like asset allocation tools very much. It does not matter what type of portfolio I want these invariably want some money put in Japan.

I like the portfolio print-outs and the illustrations and key features documents are good. The bond illustrations are particularly good if any commission is being sacrificed.

As advisers, we look to get any help we can. Most important, this involves making business easy to do.

Tony Catt is an adviser at Tony Catt IFA

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