Platforms  

Tech firm adds Sipp amid talks with IFA consolidators

Tech firm adds Sipp amid talks with IFA consolidators

FIS, the US technology provider which bought Platform Securities back in 2013, has added Sipp servicing to its tool box in an effort to offer a complete suite of outsourced services to wealth managers and IFAs.

The firm’s platform subsidiary already supplies tax wrapped products, such as Jisas, Isas and Lisas to firms, as well as services such as trading settlement, record keeping, portfolio management and custody administration.

Its new Sipp will be serviced through a partnership with Quai Digital, an investment and pension services provider.

“We had a gap in the market servicing discretionary and advisory wealth managers, and that was pensions capability,” chief executive of Platform Securities, John Beeston, told FTAdviser.

Beeston, who is also one of Pimfa’s operations committee members, used to head up Fidelity International’s platform operations out of the UK and prior to that spent nearly nine years at Brewin Dolphin.

At FIS, he heads up the firm’s platform, which can act either as a pure custody player - ie, direct trading, or as an advised solution.

It operates in a similar capacity to ‘white-label’ providers such as Seccl and Multrees, except advice firms do not need regulatory permissions.

“When you look at big IFA consolidators, they’re considering having their own platform and consolidating back in,” Beeston explained.

“Traditionally, IFAs have put clients on multiple platforms, but that exposes you to each platform’s charges. Consolidators are wondering if they could be the platform.”

Beeston said “one or two” IFA consolidators he has been in talks with “very much want” to create this capability, but to do that they need a partner.

“We need to create a platform of choice,” he said. “As an organisation, we’re trying to bring together outsourced services on behalf of wealth managers and IFA consolidators, so they can focus on running money rather than focus on the administration.”

Bringing pensions into the mix creates that service, Beeston explained. 

“We already have APIs [application programme interfaces] to connect with other providers. This allows firms to integrate their own systems into FIS - for example, their own books and record keeping solutions, so their front-face.

“Now it needs all the products underneath, and Quai is providing that solution.”

Beeston said the Sipp rules are driven by the client. “Quai can do everything from a straightforward Sipp, to a workplace pension and an international offering.”

Currently, Platform Securities biggest clients include “one large platform in the UK”, a handful of  “big wealth managers”, one “large advice firm” outside of the UK servicing clients on-shore, and a “large Swiss entity” servicing ultra high-net-worth clients, according to Beeston.

Platform Securities has been operating in the market for some 20 years. 

“When you look at the market, there isn’t an abundance of companies offering these services,” said Beeston highlighting the level of consolidation - particularly by private equity - in this space.