In 2013 most advisers use a platform or a “wrap” as an administration system to buy, sell and switch investments for clients. Today I was at the conference for the leading independent research group that helps advisers identify suitable investment platforms for their clients. In an ideal world, this would be an easy task, but with evolving and lagging technologies, promises (met and unmet) of innovation, complexities of regulation and taxation, it is all rather “involved”. So much so, that I spend a “fair amount” of money on research tools to ensure that we have a really thorough approach to the problem.

Sadly, it is not all about price (the cost of the platform) but an awful lot more. Getting the wrong platform that then decides to pull out of the market as a notable player did relatively recently is more than a “nuisance”. It provides considerable problems. However, it should not be forgotten that a platform (or Wrap) is little more than a tool and one that needs to be workable, providing a good service. In my opinion, the adviser should have no bias between platforms, however clearly there does need to be a sensible selection process – which equally applies to the construction of investment portfolios. Sadly there was yet another reminder that there are still a considerable number of firms lacking processes and failing to treat their own clients fairly. As yours truly ends up picking up the bill for failed IFA firms, I am fairly fed up that this still continues in 2013. Bad financial advisers are not in anyone’s interest – yours or mine.

Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA