When we met with the Parmenion team in Bath, the sun finally came out for us. We had been aggregating client investments onto the Skandia platform and were happy with the product and the personal service but in 2007 doubts started to creep in about actively managed funds.
We were surprised by some of the underlying holdings and frustrated by widely varying performance. We could not control the asset allocation or risk for clients, nor identify in advance the small proportion of funds that would outperform each year. The defining moment, however, was when we cons-idered the effect of portfolio turnover. This was an aston-ishing revelation and, in a lowreturn environment, the real investment cost was simply unacceptable. We therefore started two years of research into passive funds. The market for index-tracking funds was developing so ultimately we decided to construct portfolios using this approach to include Dimensional funds.
At that time, Skandia could not offer us the fund range that we wanted, nor could we access institutional funds. They did, however, facilitate our exit in the professional manner we had come to expect from them.
We started to explore the market. Some providers were close but not quite there but we did trial the market leaders and thought we had solved the problem when we linked up with an award winning insurer. Sadly, this relationship was beset with difficulties and the software proved to be unwieldy. My colleagues became exasperated with the additional burden of verifying every detail and we quickly became disappointed.
Then we heard of Parmenion, a discretionary manager. We met with Mark Bonehill, who demonstrated a startlingly simple, yet perfectly organised software system. In a world where trust and integrity have not been the defining words, we felt that Parmenion were sincere in their willingness to meet our requirements. They are independent, with a highly experienced team.
We completed our due diligence and Parmenion worked with us to create a bespoke online capability, within which we could build our own portfolios.
In May 2009, we started to move clients across to their platform. The process has gone extremely smoothly and the administration and communication is first class. Like us, Parmenion has the capability to make changes quickly to improve client outcomes. It is a true partner-ship and we value their commitment to efficiency and high levels of service.
We have chosen a particular investment route but Parmenion can tailor solutions across a wide range of investment styles and propositions.
Their charges are flexible and very competitive. Critically, firms are not shoehorned into a standard offering which has to be the case with bigger platforms.
We are now able to provide a wealth management service at half the previous cost to clients and we have regained control over risk. Our clients are happy and so are we. I am just a little bit sorry that we could not keep Parmenion a secret for ourselves.
Joss Harwood chartered and certified Financial Planner at Eldon Financial Planning
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