Yvonne Goodwin (pictured) and Flora Maudsley-Barton explain how they manage their relationships with providers.
Managing director, Yvonne Goodwin Wealth Management
Our responsibility is to our clients. They are the ones who pay for our services. If it is right to move them somewhere else then it has to be in their best interest, not because you have a relationship with a platform or some people at a platform.
Tick the boxes
We do not have a lot of clients but we use Cofunds, Fidelity and AJ Bell. We only have a couple of clients with Fidelity but it gives us more problems than other platforms. Even if I had a great relationship with Fidelity, it would not be at the top of my list to use because it takes up so much time in the office.
When you are reviewing the client, it is not just a case of looking at the planning. It is every aspect, including whether they are on the right platform. We work to checklists here so it is something that does not get overlooked. Checklists are good for airline pilots so why should we think we are better than airline pilots?
The other thing to remember is that people move around. Individual members of staff move from platform to platform. Nothing is forever.
It should not be a risk that a firm gets too comfortable with a platform. You should never get too comfortable with anything.
Serve your clients, not your relationship with platforms.
Managing director, Parsonage Financial Planning
When choosing a platform you cannot really know where that provider’s commitment to service is.
You can make an educated guess in the way it is behaving towards you, whether it is investing and if the team is stable. If the team keeps changing, that gives me a clue as to what is going on.
Keep your contacts
I have spoken many times to someone on a random team I am not meant to contact, but I tell them ‘I am keeping your number’. They are hardly ever the relationship managers but they are just as good.
I would love to live in a universe where I could say these relationships have nothing to do with platform choices, but that bias is always going to be there.
Let the platforms handle it
The function of platform due diligence is to overcome the biases. However, these relationships will make less of a difference when actually put into practice.
If anything goes wrong from a service point of view, the platforms are better at handling those situations according to their own service level agreements than they used to be. So it no longer matters as much if there is a really strong personal relationship or not.
Keep good platform contacts and an eye on staff changes.
What Twitter thinks
Senior financial planner, Navigator Financial Planning
Call me a traditionalist, but I like to have someone in my corner. You will not get it right 100% of the time.
Financial services director, Dobson and Hodge
Client service is high up along with costs and flexibility. Timely intervention is also important if (and when) things go wrong.
Director, Red Circle Financial Planning
A platform consultant does not need to show me its latest useless tools that neither I nor the client need. Get it right first time.