When Thomas Bignill from Mason Stevens meets with advisers, his first question is always ‘What do you want’? As many advisers look to the future, and how they want their client’s money managed and administered, invariably they want to access a world of investment flexibility. In most cases, they want to create a scalable investment solution. This can be done using a holistic managed account service and then plugging and playing the underlying specialist investment managers.
"The managed accounts industry has been growing exponentially - from $30.87 billion in July 2016 to over $57.61 billion as at 31 December 2017. Including market performance, as well as new funds inflow, this increase is largely due to the realisation by advisers that this approach to implementing advice can lead to significantly better client outcomes as well as much more efficient practices,” says Toby Potter, Chair of the Institute of Managed Account Professionals.
We spoke to a few of our advisers about some of the issues they encountered and the opportunities that a managed accounts strategy presented.
Although managed accounts have been around for the best part of the last decade, for much of the industry, Richard Sheargold from Stonebridge Capital believes that the service offering is still in its infancy which ‘creates uncertainty for some manufacturers as there is an acute lack of knowledge within the planning profession’. Gareth Jakeman from Praescius adds that ‘the architecture and technology to run managed accounts has not caught up. Platforms, already suffering legacy issues, are retrofitting a solution. The underlying systems used by the investment managers to run their models for managed accounts are out-dated with poor real-time visibility into the portfolio and transaction outcomes.’
How has a managed accounts strategy helped you grow your practice?
While Richard feels there is a lack of competition offering managed accounts in the fixed income and international shares arena, this is changing very quickly. ‘The Mason Stevens global equity SMA and direct bond SMA captures these missing parts from an adviser’s overall SMA,’ explains Tom. ‘This gives us access to direct local and international shares and fixed income securities which is a quantum leap in our service offering’, adds Richard.
How has it changed the way you communicate with clients?
Chris Willaton from Akambo Private Wealth says ‘Ultimately, it’s important not to lose sight of what the client wants. And managed accounts have not only brought efficiencies to our business but a better client experience as well – broader investment choices, efficient execution of trades and a more qualitative focus on the client interaction. Clients want to feel special - whether that’s through a bespoke investment approach and/or a genuine personal engagement with their adviser. The efficient processes we’ve implemented around our managed accounts solution allow us to spend more time with our clients.’
Thomas explains that when you have a scalable investment solution, a structured communications strategy is easily delivered. The annual client review meetings become more about new opportunities and what else you can do for the client rather than the bulk of the time being spent on investment performance. That’s because, ‘changing the portfolios is a simple process – it’s done once,’ adds Richard.
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