Standard Life wrap to offer cut price bespoke portfolios

Standard Life wrap to offer cut price bespoke portfolios

Standard Life’s wrap platform is to allow advisers to pick and choose some aspects of their clients' discretionary managed portfolios, as it seeks to bring down the cost of bespoke investing with new technology.

The provider wants to introduce customisation options around capital gains tax, asset exclusions and incorporating legacy assets, and is aiming to have a prototype available to test in the first quarter of this year.

Other mandating options around retirement planning are being worked on to be launched further down the line.

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David Tiller, head of adviser and wealth manager propositions at Standard Life, said: "We are planning to create a mandating capability where you can through your advice process lead the investment process.

"It’s trying to integrate planning and investments. The winning proposition is when these two sing in harmony."

Advisers will be able to tailor an investment to meet their individual client's needs. Then the platform will automatically carry out the tailoring options within the investment process of the model portfolio managed by the discretionary fund manager (DFM).

Mr Tilley described this as a scalable way of providing bespoke investment solutions within a centralised process for both the adviser and DFM.

"It’s the first time you can appoint a third party manager like a DFM on the platform and have an individual solution, with automation making the DFM's bespoke service accessible to more clients."

The expected all-in cost of the portfolio will be between 0.29 per cent and 1.97 per cent depending on the choice of DFM and underlying portfolio constituents - ranging from passive, ETFs and ETIs through to full fund-based portfolios.

The first phase will start testing this quarter and should be available to all platform users by the end of the year, Standard Life said.

Phase two, earmarked for next year, will focus on solving the issue of having different objectives throughout the retirement journey and look at mandating requirements around retirement.

But Kusal Ariyawansa, chartered financial planner at Manchester-based Appleton Gerrard, questioned the true value in the proposition.

He said it would be "unethical" to add a percentage based adviser charge on top of an ongoing charge fee of 1.97 per cent.

He said: "Financial planning must always precede investment advice, which should subsequently be goals based. You can make this complicated or easy, and the key is to ensure the portfolio has efficiency.

"Adding layers of management, complexities and charges reduces the efficiency, deeming such processes pointless in most cases.

"Concentrating on the ongoing financial plan whilst keeping things simple is a win-win for the client and the adviser."

Meanwhile, Standard Life is looking to add to its adviser platform Elevate, which it bought from Axa in 2016.

Features due for launch later this year will include a digital self-service options and new tools to support advisers.

For instance, the provider is looking to allow clients to top up their contributions to general investment accounts and Isas.