Alternative investment platform GrowthInvest has today refocused its proposition to provide financial advisers with access to tax-efficient investments on a single online platform.
The rebranded platform will offer advisers access to a wide range of single companies, funds and managed portfolios, traditionally found in the intermediary market, all in one space. The firm says it was rebranding and relaunching to "better reflect the wider range of products and services available" on its platform.
The independent platform was originally setup in 2012 by financial advisers under the name ‘Seed EIS' [Enterprise Investment Scheme] and catered for a select group of financial advisers and wealth managers before its relaunch to the wider adviser market today.
"Over the past couple of years we have seen increasing interest in tax-efficient investment and the fast-growing alternative finance sector," said GrowthInvest managing director Daniel Rodwell (pictured). "This has been driven by tighter controls over pensions and a lack of potential real returns from listed equities and savings products.
"This, coupled with the rise of direct-to-consumer crowdfunding platforms, and now the likely trajectory of the UK economy post-Brexit, potentially leaves advisers in a difficult position with their more affluent clients."
He added: "Pricing will vary slightly with the size of portfolio and type of assets but will be in line with existing adviser platform offerings in the marketplace. This is despite the additional administration traditionally required to service tax-efficient investments and alternative assets."
GrowthInvest operations director David Lovell said the platform had been built specifically with advisers in mind to provide a "secure, intuitive and flexible online environment".
Alongside a set of new analytical dashboards and portfolio tools that enable advisers to manage, monitor and build clients' alternative assets, advisers can also bring existing tax-efficient investments onto the platform. This allows advisers to hold and manage all of a client's tax-efficient investments in a single space.
"We have listened very carefully to what investors and advisers told us they needed from a platform," said Lovell. "By placing the advised client at the heart of what we do, we have developed a unique online offering for financial advisers."
Dispelling tax myths
In light of the Prime Minister's recent warning that the government would "come after" those who help "dodge tax", Rodwell was keen to point out tax-efficient investments such as EISs, venture capital trusts [VCTs] and the Alternative Investment Market [AIM] are government-sponsored initiatives and vital in supporting small and medium-sized businesses in the UK.
He argued there should be be more education and information distinguishing between these types of schemes, which are specifically intended to promote investment in smaller companies, and so-called 'tax avoidance' schemes. He also suggested the media did not do enough to separate the negative views of tax avoidance vehicles from government-sponsored tax-efficient investment schemes.
Launched in the mid-1990s, tax-advantaged schemes such as EISs and VCTs offer a series of tax reliefs designed to encourage investments in small, higher-risk companies in the UK to help them grow capital in support of their ventures.
EISs in particular were expected to prove a popular IHT planning tool after changes to the tax regime last summer. However, in spite of the potential tax advantages, some advisers still appear to be keeping their distance.
LGBR Capital head of tax products Jack Rose, however, recently put forward the case for using EISs and other tax-advantaged schemes such as VCTs in his tax-planning series for Professional Adviser, arguing advisers should be embracing the opportunities on offer.
LGBR Capital is also running a series of seminars for advisers throughout October and November in an attempt to help dispel some of the concerns surrounding alternative investments and the AIM.
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