City Assurance, an IFA firm with clients in London and the South East, has remodeled its private client division by turning its back on insurance companies and launching its own wrap.
The IFA says it is “fed up with the current inertia and complacency with much of the financial services industry” and “the traditional dominance of the insurance company products” and decided to strike out on its own.
It wanted to improve its professional service to clients and as a result has re engineered its business structure and operation. After nearly two years of research and disciplined due diligence, the firm has launched the “City Wrap” which it believes will meet clients’ demands for more transparency in advice and costs.
City Wrap is a white labeled version of the Tethys service; the wrap offered by Seven Investment Management (7IM). The firm chose 7IM and Tethys as it was the only true “whole of market‟ wrap platform, unlike the majority of wrap providers which it felt were also cumbersome and expensive. It was concerned that many of the wrap platforms offered by insurance companies were simple extensions of their own product offerings.
As well as the introduction of the wrap, City Assurance has redesigned its private clients business by moving away from the use of sales commissions and has primarily aligned its investment business income to that of the client.
The firm now concentrates on offering financial advice to clients on a fully transparent fee basis and outsourcing the investment management expertise.
With transparency for clients and proper co-ordination of family portfolios, City Assurance feels it has been able to bring forward more cost effective and institutional calibre “family office style” services for clients.
Philip Warren, private clients director at City Assurance, says: “It is a real joy to be able to offer our clients a true financial planning service now that we have weaned ourselves off the insurance company commission practices of the past; such practices having led in the past to much of the miss selling scandals that have landed the financial services sector in such hot water!”
City Assurance will shortly be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Over the period City Assurance has attracted, through various platforms, nearly £100m of funds under management while funds under influence total nearer £400m. The firm intends, over a period of time, to move these funds under management to the new City Wrap where appropriate.
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