Talking Tech with Lee Cleaves

By Next Wealth | 13 July 2020 | 4 minute read

We recently spoke with Lee Cleaves, a Chartered Financial Planner with MHA Monahans Wealth Management. Lee joined the industry shortly after graduating, starting his career with Norwich Union, then Aviva. Later he became a broker consultant and held roles at Skandia, Metflife and AXA Wealth. Lee has been an IFA for six and a half years and is now responsible for two regional offices for Monahans: Glastonbury and Taunton.

We spoke with Lee about his firm’s tech stack and how tech has helped his firm adapt amid the pandemic.

Back-office – Adviser Office

Lee describes Monahans as “habitual” users of Iress’s Adviser Office. Having previously worked at a firm that migrated from one back office system to another, Lee is adamant that it would take a lot to convince him and his firm to change back office systems: “Until that time when there is a 100% guarantee of an exchange of information, we probably wouldn’t change.”

Documentation Exchange – Virtual Cabinet

Alongside Iress, Monahans use a document exchange add-on called Virtual Cabinet and Lee is complimentary about this solution: “It works – it really works really well.” Virtual Cabinet allows the firm to exchange information between client and adviser securely and limits the need to post hard copies of any documents. This functionality has proved particularly important during lockdown, and Lee describes how the pandemic has “provided a springboard” for the expanded use of Virtual Cabinet throughout the firm. Monahans have implemented process changes they had wanted to make prior to lockdown and they have taken the time to encourage clients to make better use of the portal.

Platforms – Standard Life, Fidelity and Transact      

The majority of Monahans’ client assets sit with Standard Life Wrap and the remaining clients are on the Fidelity and Transact platforms for legacy reasons and access to specific tax wrappers.

Lee emphasises the importance of service and says small things can make all the difference. He cites a recent example: “We have a monthly call with our customer service manager at Standard Life. He is going on leave and sent us an email at the start of the week to give us advance notice that he was going to be away. It’s those small things that make it so much easier to manage client expectations.”

Lee is clear on the role of platforms in the advice process: “[they] are just providers of services that we use to implement the advice we give to clients. That may sound harsh or cruel — you end up developing relationships with people — but the provider and supplier relationship always has to remain that.”

Lee is also grateful that providers have moved quickly to accept scanned copies of documents. He cites Standard Life in particular as having been flexible in the crisis, accepting scanned copies of forms. For more information on platform document submission requirements, you can download a free copy of NextWealth’s report here.

Cash flow modelling – Voyant

Lee generally uses Voyant for cash flow modelling but has also used Moneyscope for simple illustrations in front of a client.

Risk profiler – Vanguard

Monahans are big supporters of Vanguard’s Life Strategy and use the Vanguard ATR questionnaire, based on the Byrne-Blake Questionnaire.

Telephony services – Moneypenny

Following the lockdown and closure of offices, Monahans have furloughed receptionist staff. All calls are routed to a telephony service called Moneypenny who then transfer calls to the adviser’s mobile or send a message to the adviser’s email address.

Other tech

Lee says in addition to the above, they make use of the “usual suspects”: FE Analytics; Select-a-Pension; Defaqto; Iress The Exchange; Morningstar, and a handful more.

Lee is active on LinkedIn and says it has been an effective tool to raise his profile and grow his business. You can follow Lee on LinkedIn here.


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