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Surrey IFA turns to robo-advice as it eyes AIM float

Martin Crawley-Boevey of Surrey-based PK Group is keen to hammer home the importance of keeping up to date with technology.

Surrey IFA turns to robo-advice as it eyes AIM float

Since we sat down with Martin Crawley-Boevey for Breakfast Club last year, his firm has been focusing on robo-advice. The partner of Surrey-based PK Group is keen to hammer home the importance of keeping up to date with technology.

‘Clients, especially younger ones, are demanding IFA firms fully integrate technology,’ Crawley-Boevey (pictured) says. ‘Businesses that are successful are the ones that adapt to change and are prepared for those changes.’

To adapt, last year the firm introduced Klikinvest, an automated advice service aimed at clients, or referrals from clients, who would not typically be able to afford financial advice at the moment, but will in the future.

This part of PK Group allows clients, or their children, to open a Sipp, ISA or investment account. ‘It’s a way for them to start saving in a cost-effective way without paying for advice,’ Crawley-Boevey says.

Shared ideology

The majority of PK Group’s clients are businesses owners. Klikinvest helps those who are starting up their business get their foot in the door, building up wealth and adding value to their business until they can become full clients.

The Klikinvest investment models are overseen by Graham Frost (pictured below), who heads up the investment committee at PK Wealth, the discretionary fund manager (DFM) arm of the business that was launched in 2016.

Both Klikinvest and PK Wealth use the same investment philosophy. ‘It’s important we have the same thinking and methodology throughout the company,’ says Crawley-Boevey.

PK Wealth has £50 million assets under management. ‘We have been integrating clients to the DFM side,’ he says. ‘The overall aim is to provide the most to our clients, by getting most of our £220 million assets under advice over to that arm of the business.

‘The more clients we have in the discretionary service, the better the client service. We can be more efficient and can deliver closer suitability on investment risk.’

Crawley-Boevey adds: ‘We want to integrate everything properly. We want to offer the full service. A client and their family should be able to use us for the tax planning, financial advice, the DFM service and the robo-advice. Clients are liking this approach.’

Embracing change

At the moment, PK Wealth and Klikinvest are not available for other advisers. However, this might be ‘one for the future’. The firm is currently considering becoming a listed company on the AIM market.

‘The capital we gain from being listed will help us with objectives like branding,’ says Crawley-Boevey. ‘We don’t know how much equity we will give away yet. However, we need enough to focus on the company. We want to be known as one of the big, trustworthy brands for high-net-worth individuals.’

With changes on the horizon, he highlights the importance of PK Group sticking to its values. ‘As a firm, we are very value orientated. We focus on our nine values to ensure we are being the best we can be.

‘We run an off-site event every year to assess and evaluate our values as a firm. Our staff rate us on a scale from one to 10 on how well we are doing on each value. If the score is seven or below for any of the values, we intervene and work on how we can improve.’

Despite growing from five employees when the firm started in 2003 to 60 staff members now, PK Group has retained these core values while adapting its business model to keep up with modern technology.

‘Robo-advice must be used as a complementary service and I believe more firms should be integrating it,’ Crawley-Boevey concludes. ‘The hope is that people using our service will eventually become a full client with us.’

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