American Express has announced a wrap platform deal with adviser firm Thinc set to be followed shortly by at least two more as the multinational executes its move into the technology and support services side of UK financial services.
The deal with Thinc means Amex’ wrap account platform – leveraged off the back of its £30m acquisition of online share dealer Sharepeople in 2000 – will be used to offer services to existing Thinc clients.
The platform is intended to “optimise its management of affluent client assets,” says Ivan Schouker, chief executive American Express Financial Services Europe.
He says Thinc is one of the new breed of adviser firms following business models influenced by depolarisation, which fit Amex' view of how the market will segment.
"They are trying to move [advice] out of the cottage industry," he says.
These firms may not have a long history, but their different business models responding to particular client needs is something Amex intends to take advantage of.
Amex told IFAonline earlier this year it intended to work only with IFAs it believed could be dominant under the new regulatory regime.
Jamsheed Poncha, head of adviser service at American Express Financial, also then said the platform would be agnostic on the question of “independence” under depolarization proposals.
THINC currently has about 25 fee-based financial planners – out of some 130 in total - offering a whole-of-market view, while the company is targeting some 200 advisers overall by the end of 2004.IFAonline
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