Financial services is a tough business and financial advice is a tough business. We know that there is ever present competition, increasing regulation year on year, constant pressure on fees and a need to account for them and justify them.
As a firm, FVC has specialised in structured products systems and analysis, providing services to investment banks, distributors and financial advisers. We have been proud to provide independent structured product research to thousands of financial advisers for nearly twenty years. We have long been established as the most widely used resource for advisers on structured products. We are always seeking to position our offering to best serve financial advisers as markets and practices evolve. We have had many conversations over the years with advisers and paraplanners from many different types of firms who have varied usage and experience of structured products. Through this valued interaction we learn first-hand some of the issues facing financial advisers from running their business to expanding their investment offerings to clients.
Financial adviser landscape
In today’s adviser landscape rising costs and regulatory burden has led to many firms consolidating or seeking to outsource compliance and administrative function through service companies. Yet with all the talk of cost cutting and streamlining there is still an overwhelming need to deliver a personal and tailored service. The world of robo-advice may become the norm in twenty years in the UK but many of today’s investors still look for proper personal financial advice. Not all investors are satisfied by endless model portfolios, with their repetitive and sometimes simplistic asset allocation. Even the FCA has been ambivalent on this issue.
We also know that advisers face ever more product push as manufacturers also become ever more competitive, both across and within asset classes. At FVC we have seen increased interest in structured products in the last year in all aspects of our business. More advisers are adopting the simple messages and benefits of structured products - risk reduction, targeted returns, great for generating yield and with strong performance in both flat and volatile markets. We produced a survey earlier this year: How structured products beat funds, bonds and cash. This piece had a lot of impact with our clients and the wider market, such was its strong message.
Those of us involved in the structured product market hope that more advisers will continue to see the benefits of this interesting investment alternative for their clients. We appreciate that it takes time for advisers to get comfortable with a new proposition on their books - proper due diligence, assembling client documentation and setting up the appropriate compliance processes.
The next big development our firm is working on is provision of an automated panelling process which will combine adviser client classification criteria with our live whole of market database of product comparison and a complete product lifecycle management system to enable comprehensive reconciliation of structured product investment performance and maturities across multiple product providers and clients, all in one unified system. Our goal is simple - to simplify and automate the entire process of the structured product advice and execution chain.
Both services will be offered through APIs and other automated solutions for scalable enterprise solutions for networks and larger firms, as well as a lightweight offering for individual IFAs or firms with smaller requirements.
Inviting client and user feedback
Because we value the opinions of our financial adviser users we will be sending a short survey on our Structured Edge service www.structurededge.co.uk to gauge views and requirements as we seek to bring this exciting innovation to market.
Investment Research Structured Products