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Platforum: Small wonder or merely small-time?

Freddie Findlater

Our final examination of adviser platforms takes a look at independent player Wealthtime. 

While the platform is by no means a household name, chief executive Jan Regnart is no stranger to the industry, having been instrumental in James Hay’s Sipp business in the mid-1990s, the launch of the James Hay wrap service and as chief executive until she left in 2007.

Given Regnart’s history, it is no surprise that Wealthtime specialises in Sipp and administration. 

The platform operates with a small team of eight, who are all pensions and/or investment administration specialists. 

As at 31 March, the group had £570m in assets under admin-istration, making it one of the smaller platforms in the market.

For those who believe small is beautiful, Wealthtime users have been a consistently happy bunch. They enjoy interacting with a small, independent provider which has the capacity to offer a very personal service. 

Many of the advisers who use Wealthtime run small businesses and are tired of large-company bureaucracy. 

For some, this modest player is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly corporate marketplace.

Despite its small size in AUA terms, Wealthtime’s assets have crept up consistently. 

Growth of 9.62 per cent for Q1 2014 was the fifth-largest rise in the market. With a mere 100 adviser users representing 3,000 end customers, this suggests the average Wealthtime consumer has a relatively large account.

In the past, we have asked whether this platform has the necessary scale to remain competitive and functional in this market. 

With just £570m in AUA, it is tricky to make the case for broader adviser adoption. We believe the costs of running such a small asset base will at some point be very hard to manage both profitably and compliantly unless asset growth can be maintained at current levels.

Freddie Findlater is head of adviser platforms at The Platforum

 

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ADVISER VIEWS

useBead

Simon Beadle
Wealth management director
Wagstaff 

It is really clean and simple. It does not have some of the bells and whistles of other platforms but we do not necessarily want or need them. Wealthtime understands us and our business and the level of customer service we get is superb. Although it is not the cheapest platform out there, it is still very keenly priced. 

Paul Richardson
Managing director
Concept Financial Planning

Wealthtime sticks to what it does well – administration. We are looking at response times from platform providers and Wealthtime is excellent because its team pick up the phone and are approachable. The
only thing I would like to see improved is an onshore investment bond added.

John Lang
Director
Tower Hill Associates

It is a niche platform which offers excellent service. It is key for my business that we offer great service our clients and Wealthtime helps us be efficient and responsive. I also like that they will offer a fixed cost model, which makes it very price competitive for large portfolios or linked accounts. I think the only thing they could do better would be to market more strongly to tell people what they are doing.  

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