MICAP has launched a digital application service for VCTs (Venture Capital Trusts). The new service allows MICAP’s customer base, of more than 1000 financial advice and wealth management firms, to invest their clients directly through the platform.
Alan Sheehan, director of MICAP, said:
“Currently advisers have three main options: paper applications with wet signatures, single-use digital application forms provided by the VCT registrars, or investing via a platform. The first two are very time consuming, constrain diversification and require starting from scratch each tax year. The third option typically carries additional costs borne by the investor that can be prohibitive, especially under Consumer Duty.
“We are delighted to better support our customers by providing a solution that saves them time without creating additional costs for their clients.”
Last year MICAP soft-launched its digital application service for EIS funds and noted that its applications had an average case size of £80k.
Advisers using the platform can now invest across multiple EIS funds and VCTs using a single digital application form. Client details are saved and will pre-populate the application form the next time the adviser recommends a product for that client. Advisers can also track the applications to see if they have been viewed or digitally signed by their client, or if signed applications have been viewed or accepted by the product provider.
Alan Sheehan added “With the Government recently showing its commitment to EIS and VCTs by extending the Sunset Clause until 2035, we hope that our digital application service will help eliminate some of the barriers that can restrict advisers from investing in these funds. In conjunction with our consolidated reporting service, advisers now have a low-cost all-in-one solution for their recommendations, from when they conduct their research all the way to the application process and post-investment investor reporting.”
Dan Barnes, Head of Wealth Planning at Credit Suisse UK, said “This is a necessary innovation for the tax-advantaged market. The clients that these types of investments are suitable for are very likely to need them year in and year out. However, the status quo is unnecessarily inefficient – with large amounts of duplication across application forms and untold time wasted entering it for the same clients each year. This will make our lives much easier and provide a consistent investor experience at the same time”.
Earlier this year Defaqto, the UK’s most trusted source of financial product and market intelligence, acquired MICAP to extend its reach from multi-asset, single strategy and MPS investment products into tax-advantaged products.