Independent financial research company Defaqto has launched a new version of Defaqto Engage - its research software for financial advisers - to support advisory businesses to deliver professional, efficient and compliant advice post-RDR.
By the end of this year, advisory businesses will have had to meet a wide range of regulatory requirements to continue to operate compliantly once the RDR's rules come into effect.
However, once January 2013 arrives, there will be continuing demands on advice both from a regulatory and operational perspective, which advisers will need to meet head on to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the new advice era.
Defaqto's RDR-focused adviser survey, conducted in May, found that 52% believe that their client base is likely to decrease post-RDR; at the same time, however, 49% also felt that their client base is likely to be of higher value. Therefore, spending more time with clients and proving value for money - particularly following the introduction of adviser charging - will become even more critical than it is today.
As a result, to thrive post-RDR it will be important for advisory businesses to:
• Ensure they comply with the RDR's requirements
• Maximise their client-facing time
• More than ever, demonstrate their value to clients
The new version of Defaqto Engage provides integrated fund, platform and product research all in one place:
• Saving advisers time by streamlining their research process and standardising workflow and outputs
• Helping reduce advisers' compliance risk and cost by providing a clear and robust audit trail that helps them meet FSA requirements
• Helping advisers evidence research and demonstrate value to clients by providing access to Defaqto's unique breadth and depth of data, advanced functionality to support their advice process, and client-friendly and fully customisable documentation
Whether an advisory business is operating an independent or restricted advice model, Defaqto Engage provides all the research they require to thrive post-RDR:
• Access to Defaqto's comprehensive product, platform and fund data and research:
- o Over 52,000 funds, including Investment Trusts, Insured Funds, ETFs and Offshore Funds - integrating Morningstar data with its own
- o In excess of 2,700 life, pension and investment products (including banks' and direct products) across more than 100 product types, including DFMs, Structured Products and SIPPs
- o More than 40 platforms across 30 providers
• Integrated three-way research across products, platforms and funds - advisers can choose their research start point and easily identify how different combinations across these three areas link together
• Easily filter Defaqto's market-leading data to a shortlist and recommendation
• Clear and professional output for clients
• Creation, management and distribution of panels
• Defaqto's unique quality scoring of each product and platform feature (DNA benchmarking) enables advisers to graph, compare and undertake detailed feature-based analysis
Zahid Bilgrami, Defaqto's Chief Executive, said: "The RDR journey has been an extremely challenging one for advisory businesses - but the true test of RDR readiness will be how geared up advisers are to succeed once the new advice rules actually come into effect.
"From a regulatory standpoint, there will be increasing expectations of advice. However, being RDR-ready goes much further than that: spending more - and therefore chargeable - time with clients will be critical and, given the introduction of adviser charging, there will be an even greater need for advisers to evidence their research and demonstrate value to clients post-2012.
"To succeed in these areas, access to the right research tools is going to be more important than ever. Solutions will need to provide access to comprehensive data and offer the functionality to enable advisers to thrive in the new advice era - ultimately, to support professional, efficient and compliant advice. Defaqto Engage does just that by uniquely integrating product, platform and fund data into one solution and meeting the needs of the full spectrum of advice models, across both independent and restricted propositions."