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Jenny Davidson, Standard Life

Standard Life pioneers new tech on Wrap platform

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Standard Life has been working with a number of discretionary managers to pioneer a new technology on its Wrap platform.  “We are creating a partnership and connectivity between financial advisers and wealth managers, says Jenny Davidson (pictured), head of platform investment proposition, Standard Life.

Mercer, Bordier UK, Morningstar Investment Management Europe, Sanlam Investment Management and Sarasin & Partners have already committed to offering Standard Life’s Individually Managed Accounts (IMA) investment solutions to the advisers they work with.

In response to increasing demand for tailored investment and tax-optimised outcomes, this latest development in Standard Life’s platform technology increases scalability for advisers and investment managers. All advisers and discretionary managers who offer investment solutions on Standard Life Wrap can access this new capability at no extra fee.

The IMA platform is about using technology to allow personalised investment outcomes based on the individual needs of clients, explains Davidson. For the first time, financial planners and investment managers can create individual client outcomes without expensive manual interventions.

By introducing IMAs, we are enabling advisers to offer options that were once only the preserve of wealthier clients. For example, a financial adviser can use the IMA platform to allow substitutions or exclusions.”

Previously, an adviser would have to contact the discretionary manager and move those assets off platform. Other options include the execution of client-specific instructions, agreed CGT strategies and tax allowance usage.

Davidson also explains that she believes that the role of financial advisers is evolving especially since Pensions Freedom. Individuals are now having to take more ownership of their investments, and as a result, they are seeking regular advice.

“For advisers, as well as providing the traditional forms of financial advice, they need to focus on the goals and individual aims of clients. Essentially, they must develop a really close partnership with their clients. One could say that they are becoming lifestyle coaches.”

Davidson highlights the importance of investment platforms in the evolving dynamics of financial advice. “The industry has had to meet a range of regulatory challenges, and up ‘til now, it has been about investor protection and choice, as well as creating greater transparency to enable individuals to understand what they are being charged for.

“This has increased the burden of administration for advisers. Platforms have played a pivotal role in transforming the investment landscape. They have simplified administration and provided greater investment choice. That is why we are seeing record numbers of assets on platforms,” she says.

“The platform market is still relatively young, and we continue to recognise the changing dynamics of the financial adviser industry. Through our mass personalisation, we are creating a positive outcome for everyone whether they are advisers, discretionary managers or end clients.”

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