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Josh Butten of boosst talks adviser tech

Josh Butten was born to be a financial planner and he exudes enthusiasm about his chosen profession. We met at the NextGen Conference in Manchester and got to talking adviser tech. boosst are serious about tech. They self-describe as “a business that embraces new ideas and strives to make the best use of technology as it evolves.” And they take their tech seriously as I found out when I spoke to Josh.

Platform

boosst uses the Transact platform for the majority of Individual clients and looks after an additional £70m of client assets across other providers where a platform solution isn’t best suited. Josh scores Transact 10 out of 10 for customer service and adds that they are “finally working on going paperless – which is a long time coming!”

In Josh’s words: “It’s very rare to ever have an issue and when there is – they find a way to resolve it.” He’s also super pleased that they offer a Lifetime ISA as boosst are keen to support the children of their clients and a stocks and shares LISA is a great tool to have available.

“We focus on overall client experience and reducing total charges. We decided to focus on one platform and use all of the efficiencies that come from that.”

boosst are able to keep their charges low as a result: “our standard ongoing charge is 0.6%, reducing to 0.25% based on funds invested.” Josh says that compares to about 1% for the competition (other accredited financial planning firms).

“We believe our efficiencies save a client 0.4% or more. We prefer that to using different platforms for every client, each of which may be marginally cheaper for that client’s personal selection of tax wrappers. But by using all of those platforms, we then need to charge 0.8% or 1% as we lose our efficiencies. That way around, the platform is slightly cheaper but total client cost would be higher – which we and our clients are obviously keen to avoid!”

I wrote last year that if I were an adviser I’d use one platform. It’s not a strategy that would work for everyone, but Josh’s sums add up. He makes a good case that when savings are passed on, using mainly one platform can bring a lot of efficiency to a business and save client’s money.

Cash flow planning tools

boosst use Truth and Josh emphasises the importance of good service. When they recently reviewed cash flow modelling providers, he rang them all up to see who would answer the phone. They stuck with Truth and Josh says they’ve been really good about fixing anything that has gone wrong.

Josh thinks Truth and Voyant are the only true financial planning cash flow modelling software tools. “The others lack the same detail and are used as cashflow to confirm advice.” He is quick to acknowledge that this isn’t what these other tools were built for or how their developers view them – but his slightly cynical (his words!) view is that this is the reality of how they are used.

Back office system

“We assessed the whole marketplace in great depth in 2017/2018 and concluded that I/O  (Intelligent Office) was best suited to our business.” Josh counsels that “back office selection should be very personal to each business.” He adds that he “would recommend building your client journey and processes first, agnostic of any back office software. Then figure out which back office will best support the way you want to work – instead of choosing the back office with most bells and whistles and then figuring out how to work within its boundaries.”

Client portal

“We use I/O’s PFP, but the way it is integrated is currently is the largest frustration for our business!” Josh complains that the lack of message threads, simple message formatting, and the lack of HTML preventing him for sending hyperlinks to customers are all “painful”. He adds: “the lack of template messages also means that fairly standard communications that the team send regularly have to be typed each time. This wastes time but also means that any business using PFP will struggle to manage their uniformity and consistency of messaging if all team members have to type the same messages to clients in their own way.”

This is constructive feedback for I/O. It is sometimes the basic pieces of automation that can make all the difference!

Risk profiling

boosst use Finametrica and FE EValue. The firm has two distinct service propositions: full lifestyle financial planning and a lighter touch, lower cost service for clients in accumulation. They use the two different risk profiling tools as the questions and language fit better with boosst’s way of thinking for each service.

For lifestyle planning clients, boosst use Finametrica. For the clients with the lighter touch / lower cost proposition, they use FE EValue.

Josh adds that they looked at Dynamic Planner and even though it was “very cheap through our association with Simplybiz, we decided it was trying to do too much and was too cumbersome. More is not always better!”

 

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