Greetings! In this month’s NextWealth Adviser Tech newsletter we examine the shift from re-keying to no-keying, robos for retirees across the pond, replatforming and price wars.
From re-keying to no-keying
A number of adviser tech firms are working to end the re-keying of data. We’ve recently been looking at initiatives from Advicefront and MoneyInfo to build out client portals to support on-boarding. The data could be pushed via two way API to avoid re-keying.
CashCalc’s Ray Adams wants to take this one step further, to what he calls “no-keying”. Of the 8,000 new households whose data is entered into CashCalc each month, 2,000 of those enter the data themselves. The adviser never keys the data — the clients do it themselves. Again, supported by good two-way APIs, the adviser should never have to key that data at all.
Robo for retirees
Schwab has announced plans to offer a robo for retirees called Intelligent Income. The firm’s robo proposition is built to support clients accumulating wealth. According to reports, the service will manage the portfolio, determine a safe withdrawal rate and recommend a tax efficient withdrawal strategy.
In a statement, the firm said that more than half of their existing digital advice clients are over the age of 50. We’re excited about this development as it’s a perfect example of human and machine working together. Machines can do the number-crunching and modelling, allowing advisers to focus on behavioural changes that can have such a big impact on outcomes.
Old Mutual Wealth is finally taking the plunge. A group of advised client’s will be transferred to the new platform this month. The platform’s inflows have slowed. We suspect this is partly down to uncertainty over the technology upgrade. While the date of transfer is momentous, any problems may not surface until income payments are made, portfolios are rebalanced, etc. We wish them (and the adviser’s who use the platform) well.
AJ Bell launched a low cost pension for smaller pots and Standard Life introduced a drawdown ‘price lock’ (though advisers tell us it’s too complicated). Vanguard has received regulatory permissions to offer financial advice and while we don’t know what it will cost, it’s pretty safe to say it will be sub 150bps OCF.
We are also hearing from advisers that they are being offered very attractive rates from some platforms, our research on DFM model portfolio services suggest that they’re feeling the squeeze and we’re seeing the rise of low cost active in the UK (as we’ve been predicted for the past two years).
I’ve have the good fortune to be out on the road speaking with advisers at the 7IM Summit and one of the things being talked about is pricing. Platforms need a strong infrastructure to support trading and custody backed up by good service. 7IM make a strong case that this shouldn’t be a race to the bottom. We think we’re seeing a bifurcation of platform propositions – driven by pricing pressure and regulatory change. We categorise platforms into three groups: high service, low cost and white label.
Transact is famous for excellent service and is the stand out example. Aviva is the best example of low cost, with Aegon a close second due to the charge cap. A few players are fighting for the white label crown. I’m working on a piece for CityWire on this trend so I’ll come back to this one later.
Adviser tech report
We’ll be exploring these themes and others in a report we are writing this month. We are also updating the NextWealth Directory with a heap of fresh adviser reviews. Drop us an email – we’d love to get your thoughts on your tech stack.
We also have a few £50 IFA tickets for NextWealth Live. More details here: https://www.nextwealth.co.uk/live/