CompaniesMay 8 2013

Positive outlook for the new world: Ashcourt

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The group chief executive – a “huge proponent of the retail distribution review” – said that the group was positioned to grow organically and build on the “new-world” proposition that RDR had brought in.

Mr Polin said the firm had brought Emily Morris on board as its first person in charge of a strategic client acquisition programme. Previously this had been left to individual advisers but he said Ashcourt Rowan was considering how people want advice, and how the firm can provide this by building its capabilities in the coming months.

He said the firm was also looking for high-quality, profitable advisers with the right cultural fit for the clients.

Mr Polin added: “We went into RDR-readiness mode in 2012 and although there had to be cost reductions and we needed to focus on what was going to be our core business – we sold our pension administration business to Mattioli Woods, for example – I am hugely positive about the future of our financial planning business.”

He said that clients had been receptive on the change to adviser charging, and in many cases it led to a higher amount of interaction.

Mr Polin said: “Our proposition is built on holistic financial advice and creating an investment solution appropriate and suitable for clients. Wealth management does not work unless you have the financial planning capability alongside the asset management. This is how the US model works and it has been the bedrock of financial planning for years.”

His comments came as the company announced an underlying profit before tax and exceptionals of £2.8m, helped in part by strict cost-cutting in the second quarter of last year and strategic restructuring.

Adviser View:

Duncan Glassey, partner of Glasgow-based Wealthflow, said: “I would be interested to see what ways Ashcourt will develop but we have found that clients can actually get a lot out of a telephone meeting. Once we have built a relationship with a client, we give them the option of having a telephone meeting and this has proved popular.

“We don’t meet all our clients quarterly face-to-face. They may meet us less frequently but have greater contact in the interim through technology and the telephone.

“The service is the same and it is not driven by wealth, but what the client requires. Perhaps advisers have been too wedded to the face-to-face model but not all clients will want that.”