TechnologyDec 6 2021

‘You’re better on our tech’, Parmenion tells advisers

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‘You’re better on our tech’, Parmenion tells advisers

Advisers are better off on one platform rather than on multiple ones, according to Parmenion’s chief marketing officer, Sarah Lyons.

Speaking on a panel at FundForum UK last week (November 29) Lyons said the platform provider had no regrets about its decision to not onboard some of its popular model portfolios to rival platforms.

She said: “The reason our proposition is so strong is because it’s integrated. As soon as we put our portfolios on other technology, we increase the cost of our business.

“The client outcome is potentially compromised because of asset variability. Reporting becomes very inconsistent.

“So we’re very clear that the best service and best customer outcome is better on our tech.”

Whilst Parmenion did announce this month it was onboarding more external discretionary fund managers and model portfolios onto its platform, there is no sign of the platform making its own services available through other providers.

"You're better on our tech. That's our position," said Lyons.

Competitors such as AJ Bell have, contrastingly, decided to make their managed portfolio services available on other platforms such as Quilter, allowing clients to transfer their fund wrappers if they wish.

The panel's chairwoman, Fundscape's chief executive Bella Caridade-Ferreira, asked Lyons: "What do you say to advisers who say 'I'm not sure if I want to move to you because your performance might be great right now, but what happens in two years' time when performance dips and then it's going to cost me a huge amount to get off your platform and customers aren't going to be very happy'."

Rather than make it easier for advisers to transfer away from its platform, Lyons said Parmenion was focusing its efforts on expanding the platform, in order to assure advisers going through their due diligence that they won't have to move clients in the years to come.

“It’s absolutely a challenge,” said Lyons. “We are changing our proposition. We will expand our position to other DFMs. 

“We will also partner with growth firms which are potentially seeking to get their own DFM permissions. And we can take them through that journey, from adviser models to DFM.”

One of the reasons Parmenion can look to expansion now, as opposed to a year ago, is due to its sale by Abrdn to Preservation Capital Partners, announced back in May.

According to Lyons, the sale allows the platform to explore “other communities”.

“Anybody who says the days of the financial adviser are gone are absolutely not true. They will change and they will adapt,” said Lyons.

“So the reality for us is that if we don’t change and adapt to make their lives easier, and the client services better, then they will not select the services we offer.”

New charges and fees

Following its acquisition by a private equity firm earlier this year, Parmenion announced in September it intends to introduce a series of new charges and fees to its platform.

These include a reduced annual DFM charge of 0.24 per cent for active solutions and a new annual charge of 0.12 per cent for passive solutions.

In January it also intends to introduce a Sipp charge alongside its 30bps platform fee.

Advisers have since pushed back against these fees. Dominic Thomas of Solomon's Financial Planning tweeted: "It’s a pity, it’s a very client friendly platform."

Anthony Morrow, founder of advice firm OpenMoney, linked the fee changes to the platform's change in ownership.

He tweeted: "That revenue growth graph in the PE presentation deck isn’t going to go up on its own."

Paul Jones, a specialist IFA at Mackenzie Financial Planning, agreed, tweeting: "It’s the VC they need to extract the money."

In response to advisers' concerns over the rate rise, a spokesperson for Parmenion said: "This is the first time we have introduced fees on our passive solutions, having offered them at zero cost since launch.

"The vast majority of our adviser customers are understanding of the need to make the change, as charging zero for a service you offer is not a sustainable position for any business to be in.

"The decision to change our charges was made independently of our new ownership – we simply had to address the problem of charging nothing for something that cost us money to provide."