Alasdair Walker, of Chartered firm Hunter, Aitkenhead & Walker doesn’t mince words when it comes to the state of the technology supporting adviser businesses: “it’s all terrible”, he says with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
Alasdair rolls his eyes when people say that Amazon will come in and take over: “Amazon couldn’t care less about the retail intermediary market because on a global scale it’s tiny.”.
Alasdair reckons one of the big challenges is scale. “We have a few little businesses each serving a little need without any proper tech or proper funding.”
Back Office: Intelligent Office
Hunter, Aitkenhead & Walker use Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office and Alasdair reckons they make the best use of it they can. His firm is 41 years old and has legacy bits of business. “If we were starting today, we wouldn’t need anything that looks like commission reconciliation, which is the foundation of most traditional back-office providers.” He reckons a firm with no legacy business could use Xero for income reconciliation with no need for commission statements. But that nirvana is a long way off.
Platforms: Primary platform is Parmenion, but also use “a smorgasbord” of others
Hunter, Aitkenhead & Walker mainly use the Parmenion platform. Alasdair likes the tech and likes the people. “Parmenion don’t feel like rest of the platform sector.”
They also have customers with money on Old Mutual Wealth, Aviva, Fidelity and Cofunds/Aegon. “Every time we review the platform market to try to get the best deal for the client but that means having yet another platform to use.”
Alasdair runs a suitability report each year as part of the annual review. Platform changes are made as and when they are needed.
Support Services: Bankhall
Hunter, Aitkenhead & Walker are Bankhall members and use their standard documents but “that is all we take from them.”
Risk profiling, compliance and risk processes are all managed internally. The firm even built their own risk profile tool and turned it into a web app to run on the website.
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