NS&I might be best known amongst advisers as the organisation behind Premium Bonds. However, as Andrew Pike, Head of Intermediary Relationships at NS&I explains to IFA Magazine readers in an insightful webinar, there’s a lot more to HM Treasury-backed NS&I than just ERNIE. In this article, we pick out some of the highlights from his IFA Magazine presentation to show why and how NS&I is working to create an even closer bond with advisers and paraplanners.
Cash is no longer a peripheral concern in the world of financial planning but is instead considered an essential part of any client’s financial plan. The topic of cash deposits and liquidity has become much more important since the Retail Distribution Review, the growth in the holistic financial planning model and the period of uncertainty arising from the financial crisis and more lately the Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrew Pike is Head of Intermediary Relationships at NS&I and has built up very strong relationships with financial planners and advisers over the years. As he explained on the webinar, he has become “the face” of NS&I for advisers. He is certainly well known and respected in that role.
At the end of 2021, IFA Magazine was delighted to welcome Andrew as the key speaker in a webinar, a session which was very popular with IFA Magazine readers as proved by the large numbers attending and asking questions in the Q&A at the end.
Back to basics
Andrew kicked off by going right back to basics with an introduction about NS&I. This section even included a few surprises for those advisers who might think they know everything there is to know about NS&I. The overview provided interesting insight for those advisers and paraplanners who may not be familiar with NS&I as well as those who engage regularly with the organisation.
Andrew proceeded to discuss the unique position NS&I plays in this evolving market and, more importantly, how NS&I can help you manage the cash deposits element of your clients’ portfolios. He gave a useful and detailed perspective about NS&I’s background, the operating framework and why they are able to offer 100% security on all funds, even above the FSCS limit.
Some of the key questions he touched on were:
- How does NS&I fit into holistic financial planning?
- What are the options available?
- How can we get easier access to information on our clients’ NS&I holdings?
Andrew reminded us that over 1m customers have more than £50,000 each invested in NS&I. and a lot of these customers will be your clients.
Looking at how NS&I’s unique products fit into your clients’ financial portfolio, Andrew also gave added insight into the world of Premium Bonds. which offer over 3 million tax-free prizes every month, including two £1 Million Jackpots.
Andrew says: “I think Premium Bonds provide a unique, fun element in portfolios”.
Ever been told that only newer members win Premium Bonds or that you can only win if you live in the South East? And what about Alexa? As Andrew answered some of the most common Premium Bond myths, he also dispelled some of the tales that advisers and clients might have heard over the years.
Interestingly, he gave anecdotal evidence of advisers’ experience with clients which shows that they often have an emotional reaction to Premium Bonds. Whilst they are unusual, they are well loved by clients who know and value the brand and what it stands for. As Andrew commented “I have often heard from advisers, who might have clients with millions of pounds invested in savings, that they get ridiculously excited about winning even just the smallest prize of £25”.
He also touched on the newest product in the NS&I stable, the much-anticipated Green Savings Bonds which were launched in 2021.
Raising the standard
Supporting the needs of individual advisers and advice firms has clearly been a focus point at NS&I for a considerable amount of time. A powerful point which was made on the webinar was to highlight the importance of adviser relationships and business to NS&I, as Andrew put it “we need financial advisers and they need us”. After all, unlike banks and building societies, NS&I does not have its own branch network or its own advisers . It really does need the support of professional advisers to communicate the benefits of its products to clients and accordingly it has ramped up its services to advisers in line with this core strategy.
Holistic financial planning
Since the Retail Distribution Review, clients now have much higher expectations of their financial planner. This includes managing all of their savings and investments, looking after all service aspects of their portfolios, contacting providers on their behalf and much more. NS&I’s new online service, which allows your firm quick and easy access to view your clients’ NS&I holdings online, can help you manage this expectation.
Getting access to this new platform is straightforward, and over 1,000 adviser firms have already signed up and are finding it incredibly helpful. Most if not all firms will have clients with NS&I holdings, so it’s probably in every firm’s interest to register.
About Andrew Pike
Andrew manages NS&I’s key relationships with the intermediary market, including the professional bodies, and oversees NS&I’s overall proposition for financial planners and paraplanners. He has over twenty five years’ experience in marketing and business development, including more than eighteen years with NS&I, where he has also managed NS&I’s retail partnerships.
Catch up with all the details
To hear the full conversation and view NS&I’s presentation for yourself you can access the recording of the webinar here.
We’d wager that you might well learn something you didn’t already know about NS&I!
Make sure you also visit nsandi-adviser.com and follow the steps to register your firm for NS&I’s dedicated online service for advice firms if your firm has not registered already.