Heartwood Investment Management has carried out a digital overhaul of its client disclosure offering, in the first stage of an "evolutionary" plan to improve the way it communicates with clients.
Launched in October 2018 as a result of a two-year project, the firm has completely replaced its existing disclosure technology and processes, with the new reporting platform offering third-party IFA and direct clients access to a digital account that details their porfolio performance, asset class breakdown and history of withdrawals and deposits.
In addition, the platform includes regularly updated commentary regarding the market impact on a fund as well as key decisions made by portfolio managers, thereby shunning the monthly or quarterly updates used as standard in the wealth management sector.
In what the firm believes is an "industry first", the reporting merges detailed daily data updates with relevant commentary on strategy positioning, performance and trades for its multi-asset funds and client portfolios.
The service also includes a mobile-friendly client centre and customisable reports to support adviser meetings with clients.
Speaking to Professional Adviser's sister title Investment Week, head of investment management and CIO Noland Carter said the firm has "already seen more inflows as a result of the tool", which was initially introduced in October 2018.
He said: "Client directors on our wealth side and on the IFA side use the tools as evidencing our service levels. It is a differentiator between us and the vast majority of our competitors and it has helped to cement transactions.
"Secondly, existing clients have already told us after investing more with us that this has been a driver."
Head of third-party distribution at Heartwood Haydn Aird added: "Independent advisers were clear with us that engaging, relevant, client friendly reporting is in short supply in our industry.
"We now have tools that enable the adviser to be well informed, to deliver a much better service to their client and to save time in preparing for client review meetings."
'Stuck in a time warp'
Carter said the project began as an attempt to distinguish the firm from other wealth management rivals, particularly in times of difficult market conditions when "the most important thing is to communicate honestly, effectively and quickly with clients".
As a result, the firm set out in 2014 to create a platform that is "visually compelling and detailed, but simple enough so that clients with varying degrees of knowledge can engage with it and understand it," he added.
Carter said the platform, which the firm describes as "first-of-a-kind", stands out in a wealth management industry "stuck in a time warp" with regard to "telling clients about how they are performing and why".
He said: "You can see that in the way the vast number of investment managers report - even if they give clients access to platforms with information on pricing on funds, there is no commentary or insight.
"That is strange when you consider everybody is accessing other types of info on a real-time basis.
"Generally speaking, large firms will have an online portal that will display the value of a client portfolio, but offer little insight as to why the value of your portfolio has got to where it is.
"There is a proportion of clients who will panic [and withdraw funds]."
Brooks Macdonald has bought Edinburgh-based wealth and asset manager Cornelian Asset Managers for a fee of up to £39m.