EmbarkFeb 23 2023

Embark revamps adviser platform

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Embark revamps adviser platform
Embark’s intermediary distribution director, Ranila Ravi-Burslem, was aware in November that the platform “has in the past not met the high standards” its new owner, Lloyds, now sets [Pexels/Brett Sayles]
ByRuby Hinchliffe

Embark has announced a series of improvements to its adviser platform in an effort to improve its service for IFAs following a heavier than average reliance on paper.

The improvements include a brand new interface, “broader and deeper” integration with adviser back-office systems to reduce the need for manual processes, tiered charging on family linked accounts, greater flexibility for advisers to set and time charges, and the ability for General Investment Accounts (GIA) to be written in trust.

The charging changes will see a regular initial adviser fee able to be deducted monthly, quarterly, half yearly or yearly, either as a total amount or percentage of assets.

Payments to adviser firms can now be made weekly, on any chosen day, or monthly, on any day from 1st to 28th.

Pension commencement lump sums can now be taken from a pension account, as well as ad-hoc or regular withdrawals from a GIA or Isa.

Drip feed drawdown is also on the roadmap for later this year.

As for integrations, Embark plugs into Origo Integration Hub for bulk valuations, bulk transaction history and account opening services.

The Origo integration Hub is a single integration point which lets Embark connect with adviser software suppliers more easily.

It said more details on the progress of integration with these partners will be available “in due course”.

Embark is currently integrating with third party bond providers Canada Life International and Utmost.

The platform operator is also developing electronic remuneration statement capability. This means that all directly authorised firms or networks will be able to receive electronic remuneration statements into their back-office systems.

On a discretionary front, Embark has also removed the minimum cash holding restriction for a discretionary fund manager model portfolio, and advisers can now move several clients from one fund to another in a single transaction.

Manual processes and complaints

Back in June 2022, Advance by Embark was among three platforms - alongside Novia, and James Hay - that was labelled a “digital process laggard” due to its continued reliance on paper or scanned forms.

In a report by consultancy NextWealth, it said all three platforms still required a signed form - paper or scanned - for more than 40 per cent of processes surveyed.

An Embark spokesperson told FTAdviser at the time it was upgrading Advance by Embark to the Embark Platform technology so all of its adviser users could benefit from the same technology. 

“Over 80 per cent of Embark Platform processes are fully digital providing straight-forward user experiences,” they said.