An investment platform is an online service that enables financial advisors or wealth managers to invest for clients into a multitude of financial investments, such as securities, funds, structured notes or cash, all in one central place.
As client investment goals and financial aspirations change over time, it is imperative to choose an appropriate investment platform that can cater to their evolving requirements. This can be challenging with more and more platforms jostling to attract business in the international arena. In this article Antony Kelsey, Group Commercial Director at Capital International Group, outlines his tips for finding the best investment platform:
Choose an investment platform provider that has a local presence
With local presence comes local support and knowledge. Work with a provider who understands the regional challenges that investors face and who can provide reassurance in a client’s own language and time zone.
Pick the right jurisdiction
Choose a jurisdiction with a strong regulatory and legislative framework, which demonstrates how your hard-earned wealth and personal data is kept securely offshore. The Isle of Man and other UK Crown Dependencies are great examples of this and are a common choice for many investors.
Understand the costs
Make sure you understand the associated costs or fee structure of an offshore investment platform. It can be expensive if you choose the wrong solution, which can defeat the object of taking your wealth offshore.
Pick an investment platform with a variety of solutions
Make sure your investment platform has a great variety of solutions. Not all of them offer easy access to stocks, shares, mutual funds and unit trusts as well as listed passive instruments such as Exchange Traded Funds, which are increasingly popular with investors.
Ensure compatibility with a range of financial products
Make sure you can link to appropriate structures or product wrappers, such as trusts, international pensions and life assurance or endowment products. All of these have different tax, control and legacy benefits which can be very helpful when investing offshore. Again not all investment platforms have connections with these product or structure types.
Make sure you can appoint discretionary fund management
Check that your investment platform allows you to appoint a discretionary fund management company of your choosing, should you want a professional manager to look after the investment strategy.
Check the investment platform’s onboarding time
Efficient onboarding gives advisors the opportunity to focus on their existing clients’ portfolios and the expansion of their client base. You want to be able to send documents electronically without the need to post documents half way around the world.
The investment platform needs to have sound online access so that advisors can easily access and track their client portfolios. It is also enables third party data feeds for independent monitoring and consolidated reporting.
User-friendly for end clients
It must be simple to navigate with responsive customer service and ensure ease of encashment so clients can access the value of their investments whenever they need to.
Proven track record
Make sure your investment platform provider has a proven track record. Ideally they should be large enough to give you comfort that they are secure but not too large that you receive poor service. Meet with them or ask if they can provide a reference or client testimonial.
Capital International Group (CIG) is headquartered in the Isle of Man with sister offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. The Group’s Investment Platform has an ‘open architecture’, allowing access to a global universe of offshore investment opportunities. Deal in listed securities, funds, collective investments and structured notes, all from one central account. CIG’s investment platform doesn’t just provide access to the company’s own products but more importantly, to competitor’s products, making it truly ‘open’.