Stop this platform misinformation

In the (almost) four years since we secured the funding to start working on the Nucleus business (and even in the six years before that) I do not think any other market segment has attracted as much wildly speculative, misinformed and ultimately incorrect commentary as the platform space.

Depending on the debate of the day, those with vested interests in protecting the (dismal) status quo have claimed that it will not be possible for IFAs to concentrate client assets on one or two platforms, that advisers will not be allowed to invest in platform businesses and that perhaps most absurdly of all, client outcomes will be enhanced if we limit transparency and constrain client choice.

Those rambling with a view to stalling progress have no idea how confusing this noise can be for those seeking to cut through the rhetoric and simply deliver great client outcomes.

The FSA’s recent publication of retail distribution review discussion paper 10/2 has gone a long way towards clarifying matters and accordingly I wholeheartedly welcome its publication.

Provided the discussion period is not hijacked we will be able to look forward to a future in which unbundling will be mandatory and platforms will be unable to profit by limiting choice.

While there will always be instances where bundled offerings are lower cost (as oft discussed on the Money Marketing blogs) the key point is that platforms will no longer be able to negotiate with fund managers to secure an advantage for the platform without the client and adviser being aware of this.

It is a fundamental tenet of consumerism that the client must be able to work out what is going on. It is therefore a fundamental responsibility of this industry to deliver unbundled transparent platforms.

It is now clearer than ever before that the FSA has no issue with advisers or IFA firms holding shares in a platform provided any conflict of interest is appropriately disclosed and managed – quite why this was ever an issue when no-one has ever even discussed advisers holding shares in life companies or asset managers is absolutely beyond me. It is refreshing to see such common sense from the FSA on this issue.

Similarly, the regulator has made it abundantly clear that advisers must have due regard for individual circumstances when recommending platform solutions – meaning that an adviser may find that one single platform does not meet the requirement of all of an adviser’s clients. It does not however mean that IFAs should actively seek to distribute clients’ assets across the entire platform market and beyond. In all likelihood most IFAs will find their client clustered around certain characteristics and as such I would expect a well run practice to work with perhaps one or two core platforms with other propositions (platform-led or not) picking up the slack.

The regulator has listened to the merchants of positive change and I for one urge the FSA to stick to its guns as the common sense that has emerged is a far more believable basis on which to build an industry.

All in all DP10/2 is wonderful news as it provides this industry with a framework in which it might finally shake off the shambles of the past and shift into a world where respect may be forged and a new found engagement with society carved out.

David Ferguson is chief executive officer of Nucleus.

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Comments

There are 46 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. >It is a fundamental tenet of consumerism that >the client must be able to work out what is going >on. It is therefore a fundamental responsibility of >this industry to deliver unbundled transparent >platforms.

    Agreed. Will you allow investors to deal direct post RDR, albeit with a reasonable transparent platform charge or will investors still be forced to deal thru IFAs and pay for advice they do not want?

  2. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 1:08 pm

    My god! I nearly fell off my chair laughing at David’s 2nd paragraph “those with vested interests…”

    If ever there was a guy with a vested interest, this fella would be right up there!

    David, as we have discussed many times before, your platform may be transparent and unconstrained, BUT, and it is a really big BUT, it is more expensive… simple as that! And I fail to see how, more expensive can, in your own words “deliver great client outcomes”!

    I do wonder why MM and FA keep giving you airtime, when you keep on with you vested interest.

    My own, personal humble opinion of course.

    🙂

  3. David Ferguson’s well reasoned and logical article doesn’t deserve the anonymous rant from ‘You must be joking’. Cheaper than what? What are you comparing? Chalk and Cheese? It is precisely this sort of ill informed ‘debate’ which creates mere noise and nil information.

  4. This could well be missing the point. I think I am right in saying that Nucleus has at least one financial institution as a large shareholder. Forgetting the sterile argument as to whther an IFA should use 1,2 or 12 platforms, they are still hostages to insurance companies, etc., looking to protect their distribution at the expense of everyone.

  5. Whether or not there are institutional shareholders also misses the point. Wrap is a lower margin business than traditional ‘bundled’ insurance co products and is a service more than a product. A bit of due diligence normally sorts out which ‘operators’ are still in old fashioned product profit maximisation and sales mode and which have grasped and fully committed to a quite different business model of service partnership with advisers.

  6. Agree with all Stanley says. David Cowell’s comment – as with any start up, it normally needs financial backing. However, this backer is not trying to promote its own products or restrict others. It is merely investment backing for what it sees as a successful business.

  7. Wholeheartedly agree with David’s comments – vested interests are slowing progress. Great believer in WRAPS and transparency and the sooner traditional providers get to grips with this, the greater chance they have of prospering post RDR. I believe that potential direct access to WRAPS without advice would be very dangerous for any but the small minority of very professional private investors. In addition, such a WRAP would need to be designed specifically for that small minority. Therefore, by default it would not be a viable proposition to provide for a small customer base. Other comments have already made the point that one size does not fit all.

  8. FAO JMBJ: we have indeed discussed this many times and you are of course correct to say that Nucleus (or indeed any platform) can be more expensive in any given circumstance. Aside from that I can assure you that my vested interest lies in a future where the market works far more effectively than it does today. If you’d only tell us who you are I’d be delighted to spend some time with you taking you through my beliefs (and background) in more detail.

    As to the B2C comment from John Blackmore all I will say for now is that there are some members of our IFA community who think it would be a great idea.

    Genuinely have to go now but will try to look back later…

  9. David Ferguson and vested interests are words which very much go together.

    The guys looking to line his own pockets off the back of reducing the insurance industry margins to provide his own.

    Id much prefer to fund the insurance industry than Daves own pension.

    Why does he get so much air time- well id imagine they must pay for it I cant imagine that there is any demand for the drivel which is spouted every so often on behalf of this bunch of charlatans.

    Time to get some tablets to cope with your meglomania Dave. You and Andy Fisher should heed that if you raise your head above the parapet too often someones going to take a snipe at you.

    Your idea is not bad but its not industry changing. Nucleus has no real financial clout and never will have, internally from what I hear your company has several issues and you should concentrate on them rather than aking up any more of my computer screen or time.

    In terms of propaganda though youve done well, Dr Gobbles would be proud!

    In the words of a glaswegian friend of mine “geeze a break!”

  10. I must agree with the previous post that Money Marketing should be charging Mr. Ferguson a fee for his regular advertorials in their publication because I’ve yet to see a commentary from him that was independent and not self-serving.

    As for “tenets of consumerism”, I support the idea that clients are entitled to know what fees they are paying to which parts of the value chain (product provider, platform and advice), although I suspect the vast majority are only intested in the total, all-in cost.

    Where I take issue is the notion that larger platforms should not be entitled to derive benefits from their scale and resulting efficiencies. Yet this is what will happen if all platforms are obliged to use the same rebate/commission-free share class of funds.

    When a large platform bundles hundreds of IFA transactions each day into a single one for each fund manager, they are saving the fund manager considerable servicing costs. Why should they not be entitled to share in these savings through better rebates which can then either be reinvested in enhanced services and/or passed on to clients in the form of lower platform fees?

    When I walk into Tesco, I don’t know the wholesale costs of their products. I just know that the retail (all-in) price to me are typically some of the lowest available. I also expect to pay more for the convenience of purchasing the same product at my local (lower volume) corner grocer.

    Transparency is important when it protects the end client against potentially adverse conflicts of interest. This does not require enforcing an “even playing field” for all platforms when it comes to their commercial arrangements with supliers.

  11. Arthur, re your comment on margins – are you really as blinkered as you’re making out. Cost to client are clearly disclosed on WRAPS – not so clear with insurers. Also, constuctive comment rather than cheap personal snipes may be more helpful to the discussion.

  12. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Dear Capt. Stan (think about it)

    I don’t believe I gave an anonymous rant (if you read both the MM and FA comment section, you will see I always post under this name).

    David is fully aware of my views on the bundled/unbundled arguement, as you will see from his comment a few below yours.

    “Cheaper than what?” you ask – than other platforms/wraps… i.e what the original article is about… no mention of chalk or cheese…try to keep up my dear man 🙂

    As far as noise an nil information goes, as you’ve obviously missed my previous posts, our proposition to clients is as follows:

    1. We will use one wrap/platform to hold collectives

    2. We will not generally use ETFs – I dislike immensely the counterparty risk

    3. We will research the whole UK fund universe (UT/OEICs) using our own fund selection criteria and Analytics EVERY QUARTER – I believe it was 3168 funds this last time

    4. We will combine the funds which pass our criteria into a series of portfolios, each with a different volatility target

    5. We will pay due consideration to what is going on in the economy at any given time in deriving asset allocations, both strategic and tactical

    6. We will remove funds which cease to pass our criteria

    7. We will rebalnce portfolios quarterly

    Each quarter all our clients receive a full 28 page brochure which takes them through our views on current economic activity, asset allocation models, volatility targets, our fund research, comments on any manager changes, portfolio breakdowns and performance data… I could go on!

    Now if that isn’t a business model…. well 🙂

  13. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Hi David

    It’s YMBJ by the way 🙂

    I don’t doubt we both have the same interest in the future of the platform/wrap market, i.e. that this continues to thrive and develop.

    My biggest concern is that you, Brett, Peter, the muppet from Aviva, Nivea et al, all have a bloody vested interest which you are trying to put forward to the FSA via the “pinks” in a manner which suits your own “model”.

    Given that the FSA really don’t seem to have grasped how the IFA community are using wraps/platforms, the constant press articles are likely to confuse them further and this could have catestrophic consequences to the future development of the market if they fall down too heavily on one side or the other.

    Again, just my humble opinion…

    Surely, it would make more sense if the whole market was striving for continued freedom of choice – we do, just about, still live in a democracy!

    YMBJ

    PS I’ll give you a call some time next week for a chat 🙂

  14. Mr J Munderstanding 20th April 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I am absolutly outraged. I can’t believe it, i am not going to stand for it

  15. YMBJ – fair point(s) as ever. Look forward to speaking with you in due course.

    Anonymous – I can only offer you the consolation that what I have written above (and reiterated for years now) is that it is what I believe and those beliefs are the reason why Nucleus came to be. With regard to your Tesco analogy, your point would be entirely valid if the general population had the slightest knowledge of retail financial services. Of course the reality is somewhat different (for now and the next 20 years I suspect) and therefore (I believe) that we must have full transparency such that IFAs and their clients may make fully informed decisions.

    Cheers!

  16. I find myself agreeing in large part with ‘Mr Anonymous’ because why shouldn’t fund rebates go back to clients? But what has this to do with David Ferguson? That is an FSA proposal and I suspect that David will also agree. I hope that Mr Anonymous (preferably not anonymously) is making his views known to the FSA during thewconsultation period and hopefully between us all we can get this one reversed!

    As for ‘You must be joking’, he clearly is. The fact that you frequently post under this pseudonym doesn’t actually make it any clearer who you are (think about it my dear man).

    Regarding your business model, points 1 to 7, well done! Almost a perfect New Model Adviser score. Just one thing missing which I presume is what your beef is all about without actually mentioning it, Can I guess that your model all happens in the bundled pricing environment of a fund supermarket? So you are lamenting the passing of that last bastion of old model product development. That war is fortunately over for all sorts of very good reasons exceptionally well covered here and elsewhere. Its a fact, get over it and move on.

  17. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Stan, Stan Stan…

    The missing point, regarding bundled pricing, applies only to the wrap/platform what we use.

    Our charges are totally seperate to any product/fund charges.

    Initial charge on all funds/products is 0%
    AMC on all funds/products is quoted net of any “trail commission” that would ordinarily be paid.
    TERs are quoted, again, net of any “trail commission” that would ordinarily be paid.

    Who gets what out of the AMC/TER, in all honesty, neither I nor my clients care!

    We charge a flat percentage rate (both initially and annually) irrespective of which tax wrapper, asset class, or funds clients are invested via.

    Yes, this means that money market, gilt and some corporate bond funds end up being “more expensive” than they would held off the platform/wrap, but that’s RDR I’m afraid.

    So are our charges “bundled”? NO
    Are we RDR ready? YES

    Do I get my perfect New Model Adviser score now?

    I really really want one, please…

    Or, to get that, would I need to break down the TER of each fund into platform/wrap, investment house, investment house staffing, investment house advertising, investment house coffee budget, custodian fees, trustee fess, postage costs etc etc etc….

    If you do this, and can prove it, I’ll gladly by you a pint for having the bestest “new model adviser” business model ever!!

    Remember the old chinese proverb…

    You can dismantle a ford capri into all its components, but at the end of the day, its still a sh*t car!

    🙂

  18. Whiter Than White 20th April 2010 at 4:59 pm

    For YMBJ;

    I’m really intreagued, and I’m struggling to pinpoint what’s behind your motivation for the attack on Mr Ferguson. In one breath you tell us that his company’s proposition is too expensive, but back that up with absolutely nothing with which to compare it’s charges against.

    You then tell us the steps you undertake to deliver your investment proposition, and tell us you analyse in excess of 3,000 funds per quarter. This number of funds can only mean that your business untilises a wrap platform, as none of the platforms (or even some wrap providers) can accomodate that amount of funds;

    Cofunds 1300
    FFN 1100
    Skandia 900

    So which wrap provider are you comparing Nucleus’s charges too, and why is it a secret?

    One of the things I encouter in my business life is people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Are you comparing a full wrap proposition to Nucleus’s charges, you know one that can handle funds, ETF’s, Structured Products, Equities, Gilts, Hedge Funds?

    If not, please realise that the I.T. build and investment administration required for a full blown wrap platform will always be more expensive than a simple funds platform which only allows daily dealt retail funds.

    I suspect that one of the issues that David Ferguson is highlighting is the continued misinformation put into the press by the likes of Skandia (platform pricewatch anyone?) continually comparing themselves to wrap providers.

    Some of the nonsense being peddled by the platforms regarding rebates, re-registration, and investment instruments is like listening to the old Scottish Life Offices moaning that unit-linking was not in the interest of the clients!!!

  19. YMBJ

    In other words, I was right.

    “Who gets what out of the AMC/TER, in all honesty, neither I nor my clients care!” Maybe you should and that is the difference.

    In fact, how can you do any meaningful due diligence on the operator if you don’t know what they make? Or is due diligence another thing which neither you nor your clients care about?

    There is plenty of evidence (for those that do care and look) that the fund supermarket margins and business model have made heavy losses and that ‘return on capital’ for the shareholders resides deep into the future, if at all. Perhaps that’s why they have made less fuss at being made to abandon that model, especially as a lot of advisers have seen through this and enthusiastically adopted unbundling propositions anyway, despite extra expense.

    In other industries, such behaviour might even be considered to be ‘market manipulation’, using the deep pockets of shareholders to create a heavily subsidised business in order to win market share.

    I’m very happy for you to buy me a beer any time you like.

  20. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 5:20 pm

    OK

    Will take these two comments individually:

    Anon First

    I haven’t attacked David – we’ve been carrying on this “debate” for a few weeks now. But I do dislike how ALL the platforms are each offering an arguement which suits their own buisness model – nothing to do with clients – merely the route they have chosen to take with their business.

    What this should be about is making sure the FSA see the benefit of platforms/wraps and how they can be used to meet client TCF outcomes, irrespective of bundled/unbundled charges.

    As far as which wrap/platform we use – you have misunderstood my reference to 3,000+ funds.

    What I said was we research all UTs/OEICs (3,000+) in order that we can show that our research isn’t in any way biased – starting with just the funds available on either Cofunds, SIS, FundsNetwork etc wouldn’t, in my opinon, be whole of market.

    The more expensive comment re Nucleus, which David freely admits is correct, related purely to UTs/OEICs, and was infact against SIS – our reserach – for the funds we are currently recommending.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your final paragraph – and that is the point of my posts today.

    The platform/wrap/fund supermarket industry needs to wake up and smell the roses and put some justifiable, logical and “unvested” thoughts to the FSA, before the FSA, in their never ending “wisdom” make any huge mistakes!

    Hope this clarifies things 🙂

  21. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 5:42 pm

    OK, now to my mate Stan…

    OK, you’ve lost me (although I am still laughing at my last chinese proverb), where were you right?

    Why should I care, who gets what out of the AMC?

    Are you telling me that you obtain a breakdown of TERs? That was the question I asked in my last post – along with the appropriate proof 🙂

    Or did you just take you 0.5% on equity funds 0.35% of fixed interest and nothing on money market and say the rest goes to the investment house? Surely that gave you a financial incesntive to have greater weighting to equity funds?

    As far as due dillegence is concerned, I’ll give you some guidance:

    We have a service proposition, which clients can take or leave as they choose, but our wrap/platform provider needed to enable us to deliver that service as follows:

    Nil initial charge – ALL available funds
    Nil switching charge – ALL available funds
    Provision of ALL tax wrappers
    No minimum investment per fund
    No requirement for a cash account
    No minimum amount to switch
    Straightforward and competitive “net” AMCs/TERs
    The ability to “handle” our charging model
    Full online capability
    etc etc etc

    In other words, is the wrap/platform capable of providing the service we offer to clients?

    We carry out our due dilegence annually and I am more than capable of adding up the various components of an unbundled platform/wrap charging structure to compare this to the bundled models…

    Yes, there’s no reason why some advisers won’t adopt unbundled charging structures (we’re not talking about IFA charging here) despite (in your own words) “extra expense” – as the extra expense falls on the client….

    I don’t think you’ve actually done enough to qualify for the beer I offered and in all honesty, whilst you;re currently inactive, I’me extremely busy – and of course I promised to spend some time chatting to David next week 🙂

    Final chinese proverb of the day:

    There are many routes to every destination; some scenic, some direct; only the person travelling each route can if he enjoyed his trip 🙂

    Toodles

  22. I note that YMBJ hasn’t actually answered the question on operator due diligence so that will be a ‘I don’t care’ then.

    No matter how much product due diligence you do, that doesn’t substitute for lack of operator due diligence.

    Fortunately it’s time to go home, amazing how exhausting this ‘inactivity’ can be.

  23. Whiter Than White 20th April 2010 at 6:09 pm

    FAO; YMBJ

    “What I said was we research all UTs/OEICs (3,000+) in order that we can show that our research isn’t in any way biased” What a fantasticly myopic way to view your independence. Wouldn’t it be more honest just to say “we research only the OEIC & Unit Trust universe, and then take our pick from only those retail funds available via Skandia”. What do you do for funds that aren’t on Skandia but pass your screening? Do you go and buy these outwith a wrapper? Why should you be paid more for recommending equities (0.5%) than Fixed Interest (0.35%) or Cash (0%)?

    You say you take issue with David Ferguson as he represents his view of the RDR, but then go on to do exactly the same for your view of the RDR.

    Isn’t there a chinese proverb that goes along the lines of; in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

  24. I must agree with the previous post that Money Marketing should be charging Mr. Ferguson a fee for his regular advertorials in their publication because I’ve yet to see a commentary from him that was independent and not self-serving.

    As for “tenets of consumerism”, I support the idea that clients are entitled to know what fees they are paying to which parts of the value chain (product provider, platform and advice), although I suspect the vast majority are only intested in the total, all-in cost.

    Where I take issue is the notion that larger platforms should not be entitled to derive benefits from their scale and resulting efficiencies. Yet this is what will happen if all platforms are obliged to use the same rebate/commission-free share class of funds.

    When a large platform bundles hundreds of IFA transactions each day into a single one for each fund manager, they are saving the fund manager considerable servicing costs. Why should they not be entitled to share in these savings through better rebates which can then either be reinvested in enhanced services and/or passed on to clients in the form of lower platform fees?

    When I walk into Tesco, I don’t know the wholesale costs of their products. I just know that the retail (all-in) price to me are typically some of the lowest available. I also expect to pay more for the convenience of purchasing the same product at my local (lower volume) corner grocer.

    Transparency is important when it protects the end client against potentially adverse conflicts of interest. This does not require enforcing an “even playing field” for all platforms when it comes to their commercial arrangements with supliers.

  25. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 7:35 pm

    To the other chinese guy 😉

    Results of research (whole of market)

    ETF’s – cheap (good point) passive (bad point as far as our research goes) counterparty risk (very bad point) – what would all the ETF “Fans” be saying to their client now if Lehmans had run ETFs as well as backing structured products?

    SPs – occassionally suirable and used alongside portfolios

    UTs/OEICs – 3,168 (approx) funds at 31st March – 78 of which passed our screening. Yes 78!

    Of those 78, which cover 17 IMA sectors (and yes there are funds which pass the screening in each sector we are currently using),

    Of those 78 funds – a grand total of 6 are not available on SIS.

    Our portfolios are consturcted, currently, of 28 funds.

    I don’t take issue with David’s view in the slightest, he is entitled to his opinion and, more importantly, business model.

    I’d refer to an earlier post on my views on all platform.wrap providers… and end with a further final chinese proverb…

    “Man still in office at 19:30 will have grumpy wife”

    🙂

  26. You must be joking 20th April 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Stan

    At the risk of making that last proverb a reality…

    Operator due diligence… of course, operator needs to be profitable as if they “pull out” of the platform market (the main reason we don’t and never will use Aviva) we’d have to migrate clients elsewhere.

    Same proposition/process – different nominee!

    At this stage we’re confident that our chosen provider is:

    a) profitable – they benefit from the largest rebates in the market (on their unbundled proposition) whilst still being less expensive to our clients for our proposition than the unbundled alternatives
    b) dedicated to the market
    c) their inhouse technology allows us to provide our service seemlessly

    My apologies, I didn’t realise I was meant to post full details of our due diligence here!

    Maybe I should also post full details of our fund reserach, email you a copy of our investment guide, put you on the mailing list for our quarterly analysis and provide you log-in detals to our client website?

    Hope everyone had a pleasant evening

    🙂

  27. Love him or loath him at least David gets under the skin and motivates a response which can only be to the good….

  28. Time for an outing 21st April 2010 at 9:54 am

    YOU MUST BE JOKING

    It should not come as a great surprise that this chap is posing as an IFA but in fact holds a prominant position at a well known platform provider located in Southampton.

    Pick a card, anyone????

  29. Whiter than White 21st April 2010 at 10:49 am

    Not YMBJ, he says that the platforms and wraps only ever talk about their own propositions and only act out of self interest!! If you read his posts he couldn’t possibly be an employee of the Southampton Life Office, could he?

    And not just any old employee, surely it’s not the guy who told us he wanted to place ETF’s and Institutional funds onto the Selestia platform five years ago? Not the guy who said IFA’s aren’t clever enough to use ETF’s, while in the background he was meeting Blackrock to explore the possibility of adding them to their 10yr old platform, but failing?

    A quick question YMBJ, you mention above that Skandia have the largest rebates in the market on their ‘unbundled’ proposition. Which unbundled proposition would that be? How does a client tell how much Skandia are taking from this unbundled proposition? As an example, the client buys the Aberdeen Asia Pacific fund and pays a 1.75% AMC, the IFA gets 0.5% trail, Aberdeen get to keep 0.56% and Skandia quitely trouser 0.69% to themselves. At no point is the client aware that Skandia are paid anything other than their £51.88 annual charge. Transparent or unbundled it aint. Most IFA’s don’t know how these rebates work, so surely you can see why the FSA have an issue with them!!

    Don’t lurk in the shadows YMBJ, you and your ex-colleagues built a fantastic business, you should be proud of it not pretending to be an IFA. Unfortunately, like the old With Profits offices, time and technology doesn’t stand still. So no matter how much you lobby the FSA to keep your rebates secret, you won’t win the argument.

    Now, that card trick how does it finish again; you wanna bet your business on it?

  30. George W Jensen 21st April 2010 at 10:50 am

    An interesting thread – although I can’t believe you all have so much time on your hands – things a bit quiet on the client front, or are those wonderful platforms automating your New Model Business process to such an extent that you can just sit back and let the money roll in?

    I and other like me take the points raised.

    The reality of the situation is that we have yet another ‘holding pattern’ until the responses to CP10/2 have been considered and judged – until that time it would semm unwise to commit to a single platform solution appropriate for all your clients.

    I have worked with over 100 advisory firms in the past two years, helping them prepare for often fundamental shifts in their business models (or talking them down from a bad place) and in many, many cases

    – Adviser firms have too many clients to cope with and hate letting go. I saw a firm last week with four advisers and 16000 people on the books. That just will not work!

    – There is an endemic inability or unwillingness on the part of business owners to create a compelling value proposition for their clients The 28 page report referred to earlier can be great justification for a fee – if the client wants it. Not everyone does. So then what?

    – they do not follow the “say what you’ll do, do it, then say you’ve done it” approach

    – Technology is seen as a cure-all rather than an enabler of customer service. Firms who adopt a platform thinking it’ll solve existing business shortcomings are just going to get to the wrong place in a more automated manner.

    There are a healthy minority of firms who have this cracked, and I hope you’re among them – RDR is the biggest sales opportunity for those guys since the mid 80s.

    Oh, and also for the consultancy firms who will be raking in fees to help you all make decisions you should be quite capable of making yourselves!

    GWJ

  31. Whiter than White 21st April 2010 at 12:06 pm

    FAO; George W Jensen.

    “An interesting thread – although I can’t believe you all have so much time on your hands – things a bit quiet on the client front.”

    Good start George, but then you proceed to the longest response so far!!!

  32. Anonymous: chuckles at Nucleus HQ!

  33. Whiter Than White 21st April 2010 at 1:24 pm

    David – chuckles all round, I suspect. You can’t hide for ever, and it is actually rather depressing that someone with genuine knowledge and ability is reduced to the level of spinning propaganda on behalf of his company. Seems to me he has simply picked up where Mr Jordan left off. Perhaps a career in lecturing beckons…….

  34. Anonymous: yet more (unbundled) chuckles at Nucleus HQ 😉

  35. You must be joking 21st April 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Erm…

    If the 2 anonymouses read all my posts, you will cleary see that I am an IFA – have been since 1986 as a matter of fact.

    Have not ever worked for a life office or provider….

    Toodles

  36. I am a multi-billionaire who made all my money by selling ice to Eskimo’s.

    You will clearly see that this is the truth because I just wrote it.

    Toodles

  37. You must be joking 21st April 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Ice salesman

    I must congratulate you on your worthwhile input to this open debate.

    I trust your response to the FSA’s consultation on platforms will be equally as considered, informative and useful…

  38. Hands up if you think the whole “debate” re platforms/ New Model advisers/Transparency/TER’S and fund rebates is a bit of a red herring.

    Fundamentally my point would be that it is an issue if your battering your clients for 4,5,6% into dirty old bonds + 1% for yoru outstanding investment service.

    If your fair and upfront with your clients, renumerate yourself properly, manage your clients investments wisely and have diversifcation within a modern business model the whole idea of a company such as nucleus becomes defunct.

    They are neither facilitaors or leaders in industry progress.

    What Nucleus are really after is companies who are happy to load on 100% of thier clients assets on to thier platform in the hope of punting it one day for a big pay day.

    Who is really going to win in that situation? The guys at the top of the tree at nucleus and the advisers who have signed thier up to thier agreement. Strictly not TCF.

    Who will take over? Who cares! Only bringing this up as im getting a bit fed up with the Nucleus propaganda perpetuated from the top of that company that is so patronising and sanctimonious that it gives me a sore head.

    Like so much in modern times it boils down to self-interest which is fine but please stop dressing it up as something else Mr F. Were all sick listening to it!! Please x

  39. You must be joking 21st April 2010 at 4:51 pm

    This will be my final post on this particular topic…

    Typo in my post of yesterday evening – it should obviously have read ”

    At this stage we’re confident that our chosen provider is:

    a) profitable – they benefit from the largest rebates in the market (on their bundled proposition) whilst still being less expensive to our clients for our proposition than the unbundled alternatives.

    Wouldn’t really make sense otherwise…

    Its been fun, look forward to the next interesting topic 🙂

    Speak next week David – by then I may have worked out who these people think I am!!

    Peter Jordan? Nope
    Peter Mann? Nope
    Andy Davies? Nope
    Brett Williams? Nope
    Lord Lucan? Nope

    Just an IFA

  40. FAO EJ – sorry to hear you are fed up with our ‘propoganda’ and suspect that if you knew any of the people (management or IFAs) involved with the business you might take a different view. I’d love the opportunity to put the record straight so given you know who I am and I don’t know who you are maybe you could makr contact sometime.

    In the meantime, all the best…

  41. Whiter than White 21st April 2010 at 6:41 pm

    As widely predicted, YMBJ just HAS to have the last word. No worries, because his final piece is tosh.
    The “our proposition” is about to be deemed sub standard for the IFA market, and you either find the substantial cash from South Africa to become RDR compliant or it’s game over.

  42. I do know some of the individuals that are involved with your business – thats why Ill be staying well clear of it.

    I dont know who you are allthough I have been in your company once. You seem a nice enough guy – the world full of nice guys – its what motivates them to be nice guys that im interested in.

    Noted that you didnt reply to the comments that I made but I didnt expect you too. Lets not kid ourselves here, its all about the money.The maximum that Nucleus and thier IFA partners can make.

    The whole concept is really a stick on for the guys at Nucleus making thier money, selling on and heading off into the distant sunset never to be seen again. You really could write the book about it just now.

    Best of luck to you and your IFA partners, hope it all goes well.

  43. Here we are in an adviser forum and people are saying WRAPS are more expensive so they must be inherently bad! This is the economy of the insane asylum.

    If firms tailor individual holdings to client specific needs across different products & providers they cannot effectively manage them and cannot provide service.

    Good service comes at a price – as anyone who has ever flown Ryan Air (or not) recently will testify. Advisers can service platform enabled clients quickly & efficiently.

    Given the choice between a reasonable price for a specified service and a lower price and limited no service our clients always opt for the service proposition. They buy value.

    But then most of my clients don’t drive Wartburg’s – which of cause they would if they only cared about price….

  44. Are articles like this the main obstacles to putting a stop to misinformation?

  45. Alastair Conway 23rd April 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I am confident enough to let advisers choose what platform model best suits their clients’ needs; there is room here for everyone. The main thing is surely giving advisers the choice and enabling them to do business their way, not shoe horn their business to fit in with what suits a platform’s needs, and I include Cofunds in this?

  46. It’s interesting that the platform ‘debate’ is all about price and not service.

    Talking of proverbs how about trying a quote of perhaps the greatest modern investor known to man… “Price is what you pay, value is what you get” It’s always worked for Warren Buffet.

    There are many different models to deliver financial advice in the UK market. Having read the DP and the findings from the FSA’s thematic review extensively there is a common thread running through all of this.

    That the client is treated fairly.

    Having large platforms dominating distribution into the client sector effectively shuts out competition and ‘could’ create an unfair outcome for clients.

    What the FSA wants is to remove the potential for distributors of what is a service after all being influenced by the product provider (the fund manager) and thus influencing the outcome for the client.

    The fact that platforms are being reviewed on their price and not their overall ‘solution’ and how suitable it is to the end client seems inherently wrong.

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