James Priday, CEO of P1 Investment Management, chose one of the bravest options for his Advice Tech Live session – a live online demo. But before he crossed his fingers and logged on, he talked through the background with Heather Hopkins.
When he had become MD of an IFA firm in 2012, he’d been shocked to find that advice firms – in his view delivering by far the biggest and most important part of the total service to clients – owned a relatively small part of the charging chain.
But it wasn’t until 2016 that technology made it possible for him to do something about it. In that year, he was able to spin out P1 Investment Management from his advice business, Prydis Wealth– and, as part of that proposition, his own investment platform. And while the first goal was to reduce the cost of both DFM and platform to the end client, it wasn’t the only one: as James explains, owning his own platform also offered better control of the client experience, and much greater efficiency resulting in much lower costs, to the advantage of adviser firms and their clients.
The P1 platform uses Seccl technology and custody services, and James has been very happy with what the Octopus-owned firm has to offer. Seccl enabled him to move much faster than any other technology provider – and, crucially, the Seccl platform was able to integrate fully with his firm’s back-office system. This, James says, is absolutely essential. “At heart, a platform is a simple thing that performs largely generic functions,” he says. “It should be seen as an extension of the back office and an adviser firm’s operations, not a product in its own right.”
Accordingly, what matters is that it must do exactly what the adviser wants, not what the provider wants – and in the case of James’s firm, that means being truly paperless. The paperless office is a reality at P1 – anyone submitting documentation on paper will find it promptly returned to them. (We can confirm that the P1 Platform has been recognised as a Digital Champion, requiring a paper or scanned copy of a for fewer than 10% of processes).
At about this point, James fired up his demo, and it worked flawlessly. As he whizzed us through a number of screens, mostly to do with the onboarding process, he shared some impressive statistics detailing just how quickly processes can now be completed – SIPPs and GIAs set up in 90 seconds, for example, with no client involvement at all required. Small wonder that some 35 other advice firms use the P1 platform on a white label basis. (NextWealth will publish a report on white labelled platforms in May. Advisers on the NextWealth Research Panel (you can join the research panel here) will get a free copy.
All in all, it was a thought-provoking session, especially for those who believe that in technology the giants will always overpower the minnows. To see the full video of this minnow in action, click here.