Fundment, one of the UK’s newest advised platforms, has seen an uptick in adviser interest for its services following the pandemic.
Having launched with its first advice firm user back in 2018, Fundment really started gaining traction among advisers when the UK went into its first lockdown in 2020, according to its founder Ola Abdul.
“Covid-19 brought to light the differences between us and legacy platforms. In terms of our account opening process, how we operate as a platform, right down to not needing to chase us to check if documents have been picked up,” Abdul told FTAdviser.
“It showed advisers what they can benefit from with the right technology. Platforms struggled during Covid-19. The difference between us and legacy platforms was stark.”
Over the past 18 months, Abdul said growth has been “very strong”. The platform provider is nearing 300 advice firm customers, which range from national to mid-size firms.
“We’ve been receiving a number of inbound requests from new advisers each week. We just keep our heads down and let the platform speak for itself,” said the founder.
Abdul describes Fundment as a “general purpose platform”. By that, he means it can support “pretty much any firm of any size”.
First and foremost, Fundment is a self-sufficient platform service provider (PSP) - much like how established platforms operate.
Although it can also accommodate advice firms which wish to set up and run their own PSP, complete with the regulatory responsibilities this entails.
“Advisers can use us the way they use established players today. But they can also build their own portals using Fundment’s APIs [application programme interfaces],” said Abdul.
“My experience is that for most advice firms, managing technology is not their core expertise and they just want to carry out the financial planning.”
Unlike established platforms which outsource their technology to the likes of FNZ, GBST, and Bravura, Fundment owns all its own technology - including all the tax wrappers.
“We are building it all ourselves to try and overcome traditional inefficiencies. Because let’s be honest, the adviser platform industry hasn't been great,” said Abdul.
“We want the expertise in-house. Our founding team is all software people. They have built online banking systems and complex trading infrastructures. Outsourcing doesn’t allow us to innovate, and doesn’t bode well for receiving adviser feedback. We build it, operate it, and fix it ourselves.”
Fundment focuses its development on automations within the platform, rather than on the face of it - ie, the front office.
Abdul said the team, which has grown to 25 people, is building integrations and rolling out new developments daily in an effort to pull adviser back-office systems together and streamline advisers’ daily client tasks.