Lime Outsourced Paraplanning director and owner Rebecca Lucas has launched an online tool called Wrapcompare, which aims to help advisers quickly obtain comparisons of platform costs.
It is “driven by a powerful maths engine which takes into account the myriad of provider charges and how these are applied”, a press release said.
Advisers using Wrapcompare input their client’s name, how much they want to invest in each wrapper, the term and projection rate and the system calculates a projected value for each platform provider.
Calculations are done on a month-by-month basis with the tool adjusting the tiered platform charges as the value of the investment changes. It also accounts for minimum charges and charge caps that only apply to certain platform providers.
Comparable with Comparetheplatform?
CWC Research director Clive Waller said Wrapcompare isn’t a unique proposition. He notes that research house Fundscape provides a similar service via its Comparetheplatform website.
But he adds that platform fees are typically much less than the fees charged by advisers and fund groups. “The last thing an adviser should do is choose a platform specifically for the client.”
Platform costs and charges have been thrust into the spotlight following the implementation of Mifid II. Under the new rules providers are required to convert discretionary fund management, advice and investment charges into a pounds and pence figure.
However, many have been critical of these measures, with AJ Bell founder Andy Bell telling our sister publication Portfolio Adviser investors risk being overwhelmed with information.
Platform due diligence prompted lightbulb moment
Lucas said she had a “lightbulb moment” two years ago when she was working out the annual platform due diligence for one of her clients.
“I needed a way to clearly and easily compare costs of different platforms with different scenarios and there was nothing around that gave me exactly what I wanted,” she said. “So I decided to build my dream tool both to give me the comparison tool I needed and in the hope it would help others too.”
Advisers will also be able to filter out other providers, build their own bespoke charges in and apply discounts they have with platform groups.
Lucas said these features were added in because of conversations she had with advisers and paraplanners during the development phase.
“We had comments such as ‘What about bespoke platform pricing?’, ‘What about having a filter so we only search a set number of providers?’ We’ve taken this feedback and made sure the tool can accommodate it. I want the tool to fulfil people’s needs so that it really helps them with their research on a daily basis.”
Annuity comparison site
Commissioned by Legal & General, a whole of market, online comparison service has been developed and will be independently run by theidol.com.
Annuity Ready is designed to help Legal & General customers secure the best available annuity rate from across the market.
Under current regulation, firms are required to provide a whole of market comparison, to let their customers know whether a better annuity rate is available elsewhere, by shopping around and switching provider.
However, the onus is then on the customer to search the market for the best rate, which means calling up providers or going to their websites and re-entering data to get new quotes.
Customers who contact Legal & General directly for an annuity quote, will be automatically signposted to Annuity Ready, should a better rate be available from another provider.
With the customer’s consent, Legal & General will automatically share their annuity quote information with Annuity Ready, including any medical disclosures that could qualify the customer for an enhanced annuity rate.
This will eliminate the need for them to re-enter any data or declarations when they access the service.
Through Annuity Ready, the customer can access the full results of the whole of market comparison, and see which firm offers the leading rate.
If they choose, the customer can then proceed to application with the other provider, or run further whole of market annuity quotes within the service.
Customers of other providers can also access Annuity Ready, though they will need to do so independently of their existing provider.
After they enter their details just once on the website, the service will produce multiple, real-time quotes, to find the best available rate for that customer’s circumstances.
Consumers using the Annuity Ready service, will have access to lifetime annuity quotations from Aviva, Canada Life, Hodge Lifetime, Just, Legal & General and Scottish Widows.
One step beyond
Emma Byron, managing director at Legal & General Retirement Income, said: “At Legal & General, we understand that customers choosing an annuity want to know they’re getting the best rate available to them.
“Until now, that meant ringing up providers across the market and filling in form after form to find the right deal – no easy task. Annuity Ready marks a step-change for our customers looking to find the best possible annuity rate.
“Through this additional service, we are going beyond existing regulatory requirements to help them easily shop around and achieve better outcomes.
“Our customers can now compare lifetime annuity rates online in one convenient place, making it easier for them to find the best retirement income solution for their circumstances.
“From Legal & General to Annuity Ready, we’ve created a seamless journey for people looking to benefit from the guaranteed income that annuities provide.”
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