It may be more plain Jane than a thing of beauty but the Nucleus wrap has certainly helped us transform our client proposition for the better.
It allows us to efficiently manage our clients’ investments, react quickly to events and provide a more rounded service.
Nucleus has the Ronseal factor – it does what it says on the tin. It is a platform that is reliable and functional, not pretty on the outside with no underlying substance. Some rival wraps have more bells and whistles but that is exactly what we did not want. Those features cost money and do not always add value.
When selecting which wrap to use our criteria were simple:
- It had to be independent, put the adviser and client first and not owned by a life company only interested in their own bottom line.
- Charges had to be transparent so clients can see exactly how much they are paying and for what. Bundled charging, where the platform gets kickbacks from fund groups, was not acceptable.
- It had to be low-cost, easy to use and efficient.
- It also had to be a onestop-shop with all product wrappers available.
Nucleus fitted the bill. With a low annual cost and no transaction charges, we have yet to find a cheaper wrap platform with a full range of tax wrappers. Very few wraps can provide a phased unsecured pension for 0.35 per cent a year.
Nucleus is 51 per cent owned by the advisers that use it. Being controlled by advisers means it is run for advisers and their clients. If we want Nucleus to change the way it does things or enhance its systems, it will listen to us.
The company used to use letterheads that were bright orange on the reverse. Our clients hated them. We put this to them and it was changed.
This is a refreshing approach and very powerful with clients. David Ferguson, the chief executive, even makes his personal email address available. When one of our clients emailed him direct, he received a personal response within 24 hours.
As discretionary managers, we need certain trading tools to make our lives easier. Those tools have been gradually introduced over time and we have been consulted about our requirements throughout the process. A wrap is often thought of as a product, as if it were a life company bond or pension but it is not really a product, more a software system, an administration function and a tool for tax efficiency. The products are the funds you buy within your wrap.
You need to keep researching to ensure your chosen wrap remains appropriate for your individual clients but the true beauty of wrap is that once established, you should virtually never need to move a client’s money again.
In our view, Nucleus is definitely pretty on the inside.
Mike Deverell is investment manager at Equilibrium Asset Management