During 2008, we decided to realign our investment proposition with our philosophy of preserving and growing the savings of our clients.
We wanted to adopt a more predictable outcome for clients and to considerably reduce the downside risk to their savings and investments. This involved adopting a new approach to investing client assets through a core and satellite investment process.
Once this had been agreed, we then needed help to find the most effective way in which to deliver this process. This meant reviewing our core product solution to complement the new investment proposition and the transparent fee structure we offered.
Having undertaken extensive research, we agreed that the best way of delivering all these requirements was via a wrap. With a plethora of
providers available, we had to set some criteria. The key driver was a provider that had the quality of organisation, financial strength and commitment to be able to continually deliver and keep pace with the continuing industry changes.
Having been users of both Transact and Skandia, we had become frustrated and disappointed with the lack of technological enhancements, ineffectiveness and with Skandia’s lack of transparency and we decided to look elsewhere.
As this industry continues to consolidate, we felt that many providers would struggle over the longer term in delivering what IFAs require.
Many in this industry focus only on cost but this was not a significant driver to us because we believed that many of the low-cost wrap providers are unlikely to achieve critical mass and profitability quick enough to be able to maintain market presence and continuing enhancements to their proposition.
’We believed that many of the low-cost wrap providers are unlikely to achieve critical mass and profitability quick enough to be able to maintain market presence and continuing enhancements to their proposition’
As a result, we became an early adopter of the completely untried Axa Elevate platform. A bold move but strengthened by the fact that Axa had stated that Elevate was their number one business priority over the next decade. In line with our philosophy, we chose the explicit fee
structure, which means no initial platform charge and free switching, providing complete transparency of charges for our clients.
Yes, of course, there has been some pain along the way, as you would expect from any new company, but we have been totally impressed by how Elevate have engaged with us and dealt with our concerns – you do not feel like a number. They have worked with us very closely to ensure that our core and satellite investment funds were added to their wrap as quickly as possible.
The support service to date has been second to none and the ease of use and the amount of technical capability and functionality is equally impressive.
Their recent rollout of phase four enhancements makes it a complete offering and the forward thinking of being able to offer discretionary fund managers managing client money on the wrap is a great bonus for IFAs.
I would strongly suggest that any firm yet to engage with a wrap or looking for alternatives need to seriously consider this wrap and perhaps even compare it with their current providers.
Neil Mumford is principal of Milestone Wealth Management