InvestmentsMay 30 2013

Standard Life Wrap to offer discretionary fund managers

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ByMatthew Jeynes

Standard Life’s wrap platform is set to make external discretionary fund managers (DFM) available for the first time in October, the group’s platform head David Tiller has said.

The wrap currently does offer a model portfolio service which allows advisers to build their own portfolios. It also offers two ranges of risk-rated funds from Morningstar OBSR and SEI, whereby the wrap provides the asset allocation model and the companies pick relevant funds.

But Mr Tiller, head of platform proposition, said the wrap was aiming to get external discretionary fund managers on to the platform for the first time and that he is in talks with advisers now about which DFMs they see as integral to the service.

“We have got an enhancement coming in August which will improve the model portfolio proposition on the wrap,” said Mr Tiller. “It will increase the flexibility of how advisers can use the service.

“Then in October we expect to have a range of DFMs on the platform.

“We have had initial conversations with DFMs and advisers to find out which DFMs are particularly important for them. We have not set a limit on the number of DFMs on the platform but clearly will start with the ones advisers most want.”

Mr Tiller said the upgrade of the model portfolio service would allow advisers to outsource individual parts of a client’s portfolio to a DFM, rather than the whole portfolio.

He added the upgrade to the model portfolio service was also designed to cater for the growing number of adviser firms which have taken up discretionary permissions.

“We already have a number of discretionary advisers that use the platform and they will see an enhanced service and greater efficiencies thanks to these changes,” he said.

The most widely used platforms for discretionary fund management are Novia, which lists 41 DFMs on the platform, and Ascentric, which lists 33, while Axa, Transact and Nucleus also have a number of partnerships with discretionary managers.

But Mr Tiller said Standard Life thinks he can catch up with his rivals by providing a “breadth of coverage that smaller platforms do not have”.

He added the improvements to the wrap’s DFM service would not continue once the initial raft of external DFMs had been added and enhancements to the model portfolio service made.

“I am keen to push further and expand the investment universe to include more investment models on the wrap, which means hopefully we could eventually get bespoke discretionary portfolios available through the platform,” he said.

Wrap platforms Transact, Novia and Elevate offer bespoke DFM services, while a number of discretionary managers have expressed an interest in running bespoke mandates on platforms.