The Parmenion proposition launched in 2007. Originally Bath-based, the outfit counted both Novia and Ascentric as neighbours but relatively little about the group was known to us.
At the time, we were not sure what to make of the proposition. Was it a DFM? Was it a platform? Was it a technology provider? Often we found ourselves, perhaps lazily, referring to it as a hybrid of all three.
Fast-forward to today (following staff growth, the platform is now headquartered in Bristol) and you realise the service Parmenion in fact provides, which we struggled with when first analysing the platform, is ready-made centralised investment propositions for adviser firms.
Using an in-house investment team (and some links to third parties), Parmenion offers risk-graded strategic and tactical asset allocation, active, passive, ethical and dimensional investment solutions which advisers then manage on the platform.
So what do advisers make of the proposition? While the user numbers are small compared with larger platform players, adviser reviews are good. They like the simplicity of the platform; the link between platform, technology and investment manager allows users to operate an efficient CIP.
It has polled consistently well over the past year, often appearing top of our user experience leaderboard.
Without access to sales data, it is hard to judge the financial performance of Parmenion but it continues to add assets at pace. AUA has grown by 69 per cent year-on-year (March to March), the third best by an adviser platform behind Aegon and Aviva. A rise in adviser numbers and clients using the platform saw the group surpass £1bn under administration in the first quarter of 2014.
Parmenion launched a fully integrated online simplified advice service at The Platforum’s annual technology showcase in June. The Interact service is designed to work within and alongside the business models of advisers. We follow this development with interest among the regulatory hoopla around simplified advice and guidance.
We think Parmenion is ramping up and the wind is at its back. As the platform hits adolescence, and as capital requirements, compliance and IT developments continue to bite, it will be interesting to see how it charts the next few years.
Freddie Findlater is head of adviser platforms at The Platforum
Nexus IFA director Phil Frapple
It is a part of our core proposition because its technology works extremely well. The investment proposition is always discussed with us openly and honestly. The business is small enough that we get a very personal service. One thing I would like improved is for more of the investment detail received by IFAs to be put in client reports.
Landmark IFA director Kevin Mullins
We were an early adopter of Parmenion and believe its end-to-end investment outsourcing proposition is good. We see it as a genuine partner to our business and all 18 of our fee earners have at least some assets with it. We would like to see CGT tools improve and having non-custody assets on the platform would also be useful.
Saint and Co partner Philip Dhillon
The online experience is good. It really is a slick piece of software. So we can start with a new client to put in place and Isa, and have everything set up and a report done in twenty minutes. Service is always good and we are kept up to date with platform developments. I would just like to see them now try and keep costs a little tighter.