FE fundinfo adviser survey reveals almost a third of advisers use custom MPS solutions

FE fundinfo has released the results of its 2024 Financial Adviser survey revealing the key priorities, challenges and common approaches as financial advisers adapt to Consumer Duty.

The survey revealed that nearly a third (31%) of respondents currently use a custom Managed Portfolio Service (MPS) to deliver personalised advice, and a further 13% are planning to use one in the next 1-3 years. This indicates significant current interest and more growth over the next few years, as advisers focus on building a bespoke service offering to match the individual needs of their clients.

The FCA’s Consumer Duty, which came into force on 31 July 2023, aims to enhance consumer protections by requiring advisers to ensure that their products and services meet the personal needs of their clients. This includes providing clear and transparent communications, offering fit-for-purpose products and advice, and delivering the best outcomes for clients.

 
 

This has filtered down to the solutions preferred by advisers. Almost a fifth of respondents (18%) said that the Consumer Duty had changed what they look for in a Centralised Investment Proposition (CIP) or MPS, with a greater focus on value-for-money investments and further scrutiny on fees. Consumer Duty is driving financial advisers to choose solutions fit for the long-term. They want solutions to deliver better outcomes than alternatives, such as single solutions, and for portfolio services to provide data to demonstrate the value of their fees.

Overall investment in third-party investment solutions is rising. Forty-five percent of respondents said investment had grown in the last 12 months, with just 9% seeing an overall decline. The research also found that the majority of financial advisers use more than 1 MPS provider. Financial advisers clearly remain focused on third-party providers to help them de-risk advice, in light of Consumer Duty.

When choosing an MPS solution, outside investment performance, the top three priorities were: integration with platforms and research tools (70%), clear and transparent client-friendly reporting documents (61%) and contact with the investment team (58%).

 
 

Big picture on Consumer Duty

The survey found that while 33% of advisers remain unsure about the impact of Consumer Duty, the largest group of respondents (45%) believe it has had a positive effect on the advice provided to clients.

Demonstrating value to clients was a major theme in this research, as advisers embrace the opportunity presented by Consumer Duty. FE fundinfo research found the main justification for advisers’ fees is their client-centric approach, with respondents highlighting the transparency and frequency of their communication as key factors in ensuring client satisfaction. One adviser stated, “the justification lies in providing value through a more personalised and client-centric approach, aligning with the principles of Consumer Duty.”

 
 

The research highlights the diverse range of communication methods used by advisers to deliver personalised advice. Face-to-face meetings continue to dominate, with 93% of advisers conducting annual reviews in person. Security concerns are front of mind for advisers when electronically communicating with clients. While a majority of advisers (61%) use client portals, which offer a secure means of sharing sensitive information and documents, other less secure methods like email (84%) still dominate.

Obtaining timely responses from clients is a significant challenge for advisers with 69% of respondents citing this as a major issue. Additionally, 54% of advisers point to onerous and time-consuming admin as a barrier to effective communication.

Stephen Ford, Adviser Product Strategy Lead at FE fundinfo said: “The introduction of Consumer Duty marked a significant milestone for the financial advice sector, setting higher and clearer standards of consumer protection. As advisers navigate this, their role in helping clients navigate complex financial decisions and achieve their long-term goals has never been more critical. 

 
 

The survey results highlight the proactive steps advisers are taking to meet these requirements, such as ensuring timely client responses and managing administrative tasks. The adoption of secure communication tools like client portals and the growing interest in custom managed portfolio services demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality, tailored advice. By focusing on personalised communication and leveraging investment intelligence, advisers can differentiate themselves and deliver the value and clarity that Consumer Duty demands.”

The full report is available here.

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