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Platform Focus: James Hay

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James Hay lost its way on Salisbury Plain for more than a few years as owners came and went and the transformation of the former Sipp provider into a bigger platform slowed.

With over 97 per cent of assets held in either Sipp or SSAS wrappers, James Hay is still predominantly a pensions specialist. 

But over the past two years it has focused on widening its platform proposition.

In December 2012 the group re-priced the proposition, introducing a 35bps charge for the first £500,000 invested and reducing to 5 bps for portfolios over £1m. This was followed at the start of 2013 by the appointment of a new CEO, former Cofunds sales and marketing director Alastair Conway.

Some changes in more recent times suggest that this provider is back in town. Revised platform pricing last year was sharp, with the new Modular iPlan sporting an interesting “Pay for what you use” approach based around the already-established iSipp.

The core or default offering gives access to over 2,000 funds and panels of fixed-term deposit holders, execution-only stockbrokers and investment managers. More modules can be added: whole-of-market fund access, commercial property and specialist investments. A modular Isa and general investment account have similar options to bolt-on additional services.

Loss of hearts and minds

Historically, we heard from some James Hay users who were dissatisfied that the platform was not developing alongside the rest of the market. It lost their hearts and minds due to falling service levels. 

An interview with Conway conducted by Money Marketing at the start of 2014 suggested that the launch of the iSipp was the first step in the process to raise service levels. 

Conway said: “Compared with 12 months ago, we have seen phenomenal growth and had positive feedback on our service. Those organisations which have used us previously have heard things have got better and are keen to use us again.”

The challenge remains to persuade adviser supporters who have transferred their affections to take another look.  With so much competition around, this will not
be easy.

Holly Mackay is managing director of The Platforum

The Platforum’s take on price

Charges for the Modular iPlan depend on which elements are “switched on”. The headline charge starts at 18 bps and tiers down. The platform is pricey for small portfolios, with a flat fee of £195, but very competitive above £195,000. 

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Adviser views

Stuart Crawford

Shartered financial planner at Chiltern Consultancy

We have had a long standing relationship with James Hay.
The Sipp service has evolved in the last few years into a more modern architecture. Their modular approach is good because you can keep costs down with a narrower architecture if needed or expand it if clients wish to at a later time. The new bolt-on for Isa and GIA is also welcome. They have been busy and that may have affected processing quality at times but they give users a direct contact and they have always stepped up to the plate to fix any errors quickly and accepted responsibility, which is refreshing. 

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