Seven Investment Management wears three hats in retail financial services. The first is an asset manager – the group provides a range of risk-rated multi-asset and multi-manager funds. More recently, the platform launched model portfolios that allow advisers to allocate client funds to seven risk-graded investment strategies.
Second, they provide a full discretionary management service for individual clients or families with more than £200,000 to invest.
We would anticipate that the platform will benefit from the growing trend for advisers to outsource the investment piece.
Lastly, the platform – the main focus here. With assets of £6.3bn as at 31 March, they sit very much in the middle of the assets under administration pack compared with peers.
7IM does not disclose sales data to The Platforum but the current AUA tax wrapper split for the platform sees unwrapped assets at around 30 per cent, with 21 per cent in Isas, 40 per cent in pensions and 8 per cent in offshore bonds.
The AUA split by tax wrapper confirms that this platform is used by advisers not just for vanilla investment and Isa portfolios but for those clients also requiring more complex tax structures – this would seem to be borne out by its relatively high average account size.
Users, especially “primary” platform users (those advisers who have the highest proportion of their client assets with 7IM) are generally happy, particularly with the service received from sales, support and relationship managers. Advisers have also reacted favourably to some of the digital innovation to come out of 7IM, most notably its app, 7IMagine.
Appeal to a broader suite
Many users see 7IM as an integrated platform and asset management solution – a key question is whether the platform can (or indeed wants to) appeal to a broader suite of advisers who choose to use just the platform in isolation.
If that is the case, it is not immediately clear what its standalone platform USP is.
If plans are to grow the business off the back of selling investment solutions, too, then the big ongoing march towards outsourcing investment portfolio management should see increased momentum moving forward.
Very much a small to mid-term player, they need to pull a rabbit out of a hat if they are to accelerate in the big boys’ league but momentum is steady and maybe they are happy to be small and perfectly (?) formed.
The Platforum’s take on price
7IM simplified and reduced its charges in 2012. With all inclusive trading fees and a top tier of 30 basis points, the platform has become a lot more competitive. The £95 plus VAT fee for Sipp is only applicable to 7IM’s two preferred Sipp partners – other providers used might incur additional fees, so need to be factored into any platform comparisons.
Holly Mackay is managing director of The Platforum
ADVISER VIEW: Jason McGuigan
“We first came across the platform because we were using 7IM funds. Now we find the client reporting is a real value add. Many of our clients feel they get too much paperwork from other providers and investments houses. The downloadable reports from 7IM are easy to understand and clients like that. A lot of time has gone into developing the app and some of our clients use that a lot. But the only drawback is the website now looks slightly out of date in comparison.”
Jason McGuigan is director of financial planning at Critchleys