Customised platforms and digital advice journeys should not just be options for the UK’s largest IFAs, according to a fintech firm helping mid-size and smaller advice firms take control of their technology.
JustFA, a digital advice and investment platform provider, has gone live with 35 IFA clients to date and is currently in the process of onboarding a further 28.
Clients include firms such as Lancashire-based Becketts Financial Services, Kent-based H&D Wealth, and Scotland’s Lowland Financial.
JustFA’s investment platform uses Seccl for custody, offering Sipp, Gia and Isa tax wrappers as well as four model portfolio ranges.
This platform, which is co-branded rather than fully white-labelled, is linked to a back-office system, client portal and digital advice journeys.
The technology provider launched in early March, since then it has attracted more than 60 small, medium and large advice firms to use its technology.
Advisers' clients pay a 0.25 bps platform fee, a portion of which goes to Seccl. But all the software costs are currently being absorbed.
The plan was to absorb the cost for the first 100 IFAs onboarded, but JustFA is considering extending this cap in order to eat up more market share.
“We’ve seen the Ascot Lloyd-Hubwise, M&G-Moneyfarm, FNZ-Fairstone deals which are all aimed at clients with smaller portfolios,” said JustFA’s business development manager, John Driscoll.
“But it doesn’t just have to be the big boys partnering on tech. We are bringing democratisation to digital wealth so smaller firms can fight back.”
Driscoll previously worked with Moneyfarm, the M&G-backed digital investment app.
At Moneyfarm, he helped the team take its proposition to the IFA market but found two key challenges when approaching IFAs.
One was that advisers wanted to keep control of the client and their relationship with the client, and the second was that advisers wanted to be able to run their own portfolios despite Moneyfarm having its own.
JustFA was set up to give advisers more ownership of smaller, younger clients more early on, and more licence when it came to investment products.
Debbie Dry, JustFA’s head of business development, previously spent 10 years on the board of Succession, the Aviva-acquired advice firm consolidator.
She referred to JustFA as a “readymade out-of-the-box solution” for both established IFAs and those advisers just out of exams who want to set up their own business.
Driscoll said IFAs can get up and running with JustFA’s technology over the course of a month, from first conversation to go-live.
“We’re speaking with advice firms daily. The natural step is hybrid. They want the tech to work, but they still want to feature in the workflow,” said Driscoll.
“Tech can bring the average age of a client down, and for the advice firm this means getting a bigger multiple for their business when they exit. There are more firms looking closer at digital solutions and following this line of thinking.”