We have always been committed to keeping up to date with the changes in this complex and fast moving market and using new technology to make life easier for our clients. We began using Cofunds in 2002 when it was just starting to get established.
We work principally with corporate clients to educate and help their workforce, establishing pension plans, setting up and communicating flexible benefits, as well as advising on employee benefits but the end-user is often the individual.
It is imperative that any advice is truly independent as we only charge on a fee basis. There are 20 employees at Clarity and five are RIs. All our advisers are professionally qualified in investment and tax planning. We only employ the highest calibre of consultant.
We have £250m under management and £175m of this is on Cofunds. We have used other providers but Cofunds offers a good value proposition for clients and good levels of service for us. We believe that we can best use the administration benefits of this new technology if we focus as much as possible on a single platform although client needs come first and there are instances where we use another platform if some specialist feature is required. We are independent so must always look for alternative services for our clients.
That said, Cofunds is particularly suitable for us because we aim to have a tightly managed business and make great use of its management information systems. Its management information is very detailed and up to date and can be interrogated very flexibly. This helps us with oversight on our client’s portfolios, the understanding of our business dynamics and even with compliance as we have client records in good order and always available online and can demonstrate best execution on fund orders.
Using one provider as much as possible makes trail reconciliation much more straightforward and allows us to account accurately to our clients. Cofunds provides clear and open architecture, so we have been able to add a great deal of online functionality to our website for clients. Thanks to the direct overnight feed of data, clients can now interrogate our website for consolidated valuations showing all Cofunds’ data, as well as any funds held on other platforms.
We use Cofunds’ Isas and Peps and are also using the Legal & General portfolio plus Sipp where appropriate.
The other feature we value with Cofunds is that communication is good, both with its service team and with the senior management. As we are long-standing and substantial customers, they come to see us to discuss developments to get our take on what they are planning.
If I have one gripe, it is that projects seem to take longer than I would ideally wish to come on stream but this is probably a commercial reality across all platforms.
I very much like what I have heard about its new CGT tool and it cannot come a day too early. I suppose, to be fair, it could not do much until the Chancellor had decided what he was doing – assuming he has.
Angus Young is chief executive at Clarity