Government-owned savings bank National Savings and Investment has launched a portal for financial advice firms.
NS&I — a government agency that offers saving and investment products to the public — has set up an online service that provides advisers with client information through a purpose built online site.
The agency stated the site was "designed and delivered to meet growing adviser expectations of NS&I" in the hope it would enable a closer and more effective relationship between advice firms and the government body.
The service is available to advisers through a secure log-in and gives them access to a list of their clients with NS&I holdings, their clients’ NS&I portfolio and transaction history, valuations of fixed term accounts and any communications between their clients and the NS&I.
NS&I stressed this was only the first version of the new service which would be enhanced with joint and trust account information later this year.
An overhaul last year already allowed advisers to access information about their clients’ NS&I holdings by phone and said it would hold client letters of authority on file, rather than requiring one every time a request was made.
Andrew Pike, head of intermediary relationships at NS&I, said: "NS&I has spent the last two years working on this initiative, so it is very pleasing to see it go live and to know that many advice firms will be excited to hear this news.
"We are fortunate that most advice firms are supporters of NS&I, but I accept that we have not always made it easy for them to interact with us and this can affect the onward service they give to their clients. This new online service addresses this issue.
"The new portal represents a significant investment by NS&I and is a clear statement of our intent to form closer ties with the advice industry, to the benefit of all parties."
Commenting on today’s announcement, Peter Osborne, client director at Paradigm Norton Financial Planning, said the new service from NS&I was a welcome development which would enable the firm to easily obtain an up to date consolidated list of client holdings.
He added: "This saves time, improves efficiency and allows us greater monitoring of a client’s overall financial plan – which is better for everyone."
Phil Billingham, chartered financial planner at Perceptive Planning, agreed that the online service would make it easier to manage clients’ NS&I investments.
He said: "NS&I have created a useful tool that says a lot about their commitment to building a strong relationship with advisers."
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