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The Transact test

Brunning Newman Houghton is a directly regulated IFA which advises a broad range of private and corporate clients. Most new and inherited cases involve lump sums. Whatever the tax wrapper – onshore or offshore bond, Isa or pension – success depends on how the investment performs.

Some years ago, I was placing Investec funds and was astounded that we could do this more cost-effectively via a wrap. Coupled with comments from press and colleagues, this prompted me to investigate supermarkets and wraps. We inherited big portfolios with Fidelity and Skandia, so involvement with both companies was automatic. A colleague had experience of Cofunds and a number of sources recommended Transact very highly.

First, no one system is right for all clients. Taking into account Norwich Union’s catastrophic wrap venture, I believe it is an unacceptable risk to rely on any one system. With five years experience of using various systems, a pecking order has established itself. Where an insured solution can meet most of a client’s needs, we tend towards Skandia. It has invested considerable time and effort in its technology and training our consultants and administrators to use it effectively. It offers excellent research, reporting and review facilities but we find its fund range limiting.

We view Cofunds and Fidelity as being similar in range, pricing, tools and facilities. We use them for collective investments with little or no insured arrangements. Both software systems have limitations and my concern with Cofunds is its part-ownership by Legal & General.

For our most company’s sophisticated clients, only Transact hits the mark. We are bombarded by other “wrap wannabes” and use Transact as the benchmark on which we test their propositions. Transact offers the full range of tax wrapper solutions, an almost infinite range of assets, including securities and exchange traded funds, coupled with a robust IT system. Its office support – technical and administrative – is excellent and immediately accessible.

Perhaps of greatest importance is the absolute transparency of its system to IFA and client alike.

All the functionality we could want is available online and it offers access to an unfettered version of Morningstar. If we want to bring in a third-party investment adviser, either for the client or for ourselves, Transact’s open asset range and transparent systems make overlaying such investment management straightforward.

In a nutshell, Transact makes it easy for us to deliver a professional, independent and transparent investment management service for our clients. Any company that makes delivering a professional service easier has to be beautiful.

David Brunning is an adviser at Brunning Newman Houghton


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