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Small Sipp providers may face tech problems

Small Sipp providers will struggle to cope with business volumes unless they invest in technology, Finance and Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna has warned.

McKenna says big providers can put scale to match resources when investing in their technology compared with a small specialist provider.
He says: “In the 21st century, those organisations that fail to keep up with the pace of automation will inevitably become uncompetitive. Having the necessary automation in place can be the difference between maintaining high standards and service levels collapsing. Players who want to be taken seriously in the market must invest in their technology.”

With the retail distribution review, McKenna says all providers, including Sipp specialists, need to reduce the cost of doing business with advisers using technology. He says: “It might mean the adviser is having to charge clients more if the lack of technology increases the cost to the adviser for servicing the client.”

Sipp provider The IPS Partnership business development director Richard Mattison says: “Our company is big enough to afford this but a smaller Sipp provider is going to struggle to have the capital to invest in this.”

Mattison says consolidation, mergers and acquisitions could be a possibility but are problematic due to the difficulties in integrating different systems and trustees. He says: “The alternative is that these companies see their business picked off by the larger players until they run down to nothing.”

Bravura Solutions chief executive for EMEA Tony Klim says smaller players do not need to buy their own technology. He says: “They can effectively rent the technology from a service provider instead of buying their own software and licensing.”

Standard Life web development manager Peter Brutin if the firm had not invested in an online Sipp trading system it would have needed 27 extra full-time staff to cope with the volume of trades during the height of volatility.

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