By Jackie Boylan, Head of Fidelity Adviser Solutions
Fidelity Adviser Solutions has enjoyed an incredibly successful year, the pinnacle being named as Platform of the Year, last Autumn, at the Schroder UK Platform Awards. This reflects all the hard work we’ve put in over the last few years to totally transform the service we offer to firms like yours. This has been achieved through a multi-million-pound investment programme that has consisted of a wide range of propositional and capability enhancements to improve both the adviser and client experience. It’s also because you have been candid with your feedback and offered support in building out solutions, so they truly suit your business needs. A massive, genuine thank you from the whole of our team.
A new name for a longstanding platform
Before I talk about the improvements we’ve made, I’d like to touch upon the transition we’ve made this year from the name “Fidelity FundsNetwork” to “Fidelity Adviser Solutions”. The old name served us very well, but we felt it was the right time for our brand to more closely reflect the services we provide to advisers today and the developments we have planned for tomorrow.
When the business was launched back in 2000, platforms were in their infancy. We were one of the very first to appear in the UK market. Back then, platforms were generally referred to as “fund supermarkets”. However, we now clearly offer a whole lot more than just funds – exchange traded investments and other features such as adviser tools, access to DFM services and reporting, as well as a broader set of wrappers including pensions. So, while the name “FundsNetwork” was entirely appropriate when we first launched, it is perhaps less relevant now. We believe “Fidelity Adviser Solutions” is much more representative with our long-term vision of providing you with not just products and wrappers but a whole host of services that make it easier for you to do business, and improve the solutions you can provide to your clients – still backed by the strong Fidelity brand.
A focus on developing value-added services for advisers
The desire to help you increase your efficiency is what really drives our development programme – we want to reduce the time you spend on administration. Over the last year or so, we’ve focused on the digitisation of existing journeys within our adviser website. In particular, we’ve made great progress with those connected to our pension. To mention just a couple, there are now more flexible options for how cash can be managed within the pension and employer and third-party contributions can now be submitted online.
We’ve also completed lots of work on APIs, software that allows two applications to communicate with each other. We’re partnered with the Origo Integration Hub, for instance, to enable you to automatically place trades from your back-office or CRM systems straight into our platform without the need for a log in. This means straight through processing with no re-keying of data and automatic confirmation of trades. A great case study in improving efficiency and quality, one of our key firms are saving a significant amount of time spent on administration – that equals cost savings and/or the ability to reinvest in more value-add activities.
While increasing efficiency will always be a focus for us, we also know we need to continue to develop new services so that we stay in tune with the needs of your business. One new development is a phased drawdown proposition for our pension. We’ve now launched the ability for you to do automated regular crystallisations on behalf of clients. These can be set up, tracked and managed online, with the option for payments to be structured as PCLS only or combined with regular taxable income.
Providing tools that save you time and money
Adviser tooling is another very exciting area and, having leveraged the relationships we have around the world, we’ve partnered with a Canadian Fintech company to exclusively distribute their market-leading financial planning software to the UK independent advice market.
Conquest Planning not only enables you to quickly build accurate financial plans in collaboration with your clients, it’s designed to intelligently work with you to find the optimal path for each client. The software digitally explores the universe of potential strategies to find the right combination for your client, assists with plan tracking, and identifies new opportunities throughout the lifetime of the plan. A unique feature of the software is a digital assistant – Strategic Advice Manager (SAM) – that leverages Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to instantly illustrate the impact of different scenarios on your client’s goals, such as saving more or retiring later.
ESG is another key focus area and we already provide lots of really useful information on our website. However, based on your feedback, we’re keen to do more particularly regarding tooling. So, we’re going to be introducing tools and content to help you select the right sustainable investing solutions for your clients. Over time, this will include filtering functionality to easily align client objectives with key sustainability characteristics – matching risk, cost and performance with areas of interest such as the environment, positive impact investing and diversity & inclusion.
Enhanced DFM services for advisory firms
I also want to touch upon our DFM service as we’ve seen huge take up. Over 76%* of firms utilise a Centralised Investment Proposition with many making use of model or discretionary portfolios. We’re very excited about the growth in this market and being able to support advisers. Over 75 DFMs are now available through our platform and we’re busy enhancing our service for both advisers and DFMs. There’s been improvements to how adviser and DFM fees are administered, additional information and reporting and we’ve introduced an optional client quarterly portfolio statement.
Boosting our service for advised clients
Finally, I’d just like to say we always need to think about the service we offer to your clients too. Many of the enhancements I’ve mentioned will, of course, benefit them in some shape or form. However, one development I’d like to highlight is our mobile App. All investors – whether advised or not – are increasingly expecting to be able to view their investments on the go and our secure App lets them stay in touch with their account wherever they may be. This feature has been incredibly popular with investors and advisers who are comfortable for their clients to access this information easily, please let us know if you would like to know more about this.
Working together with advisers
That just leaves me to mention we always like to co-create new developments with advisers and your feedback and suggestions are vital in this regard. We want to hear from you about your plans for using new technology and how we can potentially support you. We want to develop technology for your benefit and also ensure that we work closely with firms choosing to develop their own technology so that, if need be, it can be integrated across our systems.
I’ve covered a lot here, but I’ve really only scratched the surface. If you would like to know more about the exciting developments we’ve introduced over the last year or so, please talk to your Fidelity representative, who will be able to tell you so much more. Alternatively, simply visit our website, where you’ll also find comprehensive technical support focused on areas such as retirement and tax planning.
*Source – Platform Investment Propositions July 2022 Issued by Financial Administration Services Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Fidelity, Fidelity International, their logos and F symbol are trademarks of FIL Limited.UKM0822/371847/SSO/na
Jackie Boylan is the Head of Fidelity Adviser Solutions, having been appointed in Q4 2018. Her key aim is to provide a market leading adviser experience, powered by an engaged team and a comprehensive, digitally enabled proposition. In 2019 and 2021, she won the Women of the Year – Platforms at the Women in Investment Awards. Fidelity Adviser Solutions also won the coveted Platform of the Year title in 2021. She is Executive Co-Sponsor of Global Gender Balance and sits on the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council. She also forms part of the Global Early Careers Council.
Before joining Fidelity, Jackie worked in the Australian Financial Services industry for 20 years. Her prior roles included Head of Customer Relations for BT Financial Group, managing a team of 350 people dedicated to assisting advisers and clients with all of their financial needs. The team won Best Contact Centre in the World in 2015, demonstrating complete focus on achieving client and adviser centric outcomes. Before this she was Head of Distribution, managing the Sales and Key Account teams for platforms, investments and Margin Lending. At this time, the team managed ~$60bn AUD on their platforms. Jackie holds a Bachelor of Business, as well as Graduate Diplomas in Applied Finance and Investment, Financial Planning and Superannuation Management. She is also a founder of the FiCap Charity, a financial institutions charity focused on providing better futures for young Australians.