Online interaction for advisers and their clients
A new online service for intermediaries aims to help IFAs communicate securely with clients, according to James Whelan, managing director of Screen Business.
Screen Business has created Client Hub, an online system allowing IFAs to send secure messages to their clients in a dedicated area of their website.
After receiving a message, clients can respond immediately and electronically authorise any required actions such as fund switch recommendations.
Mr Whelan said: "With Client Hub advisers can cover some of their regulatory concerns while delivering a higher-quality service to clients through a new channel. It's about using appropriate technology to give advisers and their clients value for money."
The adviser can also add documents, company news and other private or privileged company-level information. Further options for the client including portfolio valuation reports or reviewing their risk profile.
A back-end administrative console will provide advisers with a full date-stamped log of all activity on the system so messages and decision-based actions can be retrieved for audit purposes.
Rosemary Heaversedge, principal of Shrewsbury-based Shropshire Independent Financial Services, said: "This sounds like an excellent idea in theory. Hopefully it has been checked out with the FSA as compliant.
"Switching usually involves a lot more than just instructions, for instance.The usual problem, from the IFA side, is time to load up all the possible information for a client and, for the client, there could be a distinct possibility of overload for some of them."
Stuart Fowler, founder and director of investment management of London-based No Monkey Business, said: "We deal with all confidential client information this way through our own website so we think it's important. Given that all our clients are web friendly, such a system is an obvious thing to do."
The fully branded system is available now, with a mobile version due to be launched by the end of the year.
It was set up after the FSA's retail distribution review proposals stipulated it is paramount that clients are serviced in an efficient and transparent way.