Charles Stanley is "a slumbering beast that is stirring", according to head of asset management and distribution Christopher Aldous, as the group capitalises on its year-long restructure.
Last year, the firm overhauled its asset management division, which included developing a new investment proposition, as part of a wider review of the business as it seeks to become a leading wealth manager by 2020.
The group's four asset management businesses - Pan Asset, CPS, Matterley and IHT - were combined so equity, fixed income and collectives research could be better co-ordinated and integrated.
Aldous (pictured) said assets under management in this division have grown by 20% over the past year to just over £1.3bn.
As with any restructure, the changes led to several departures including co-head of open-ended fund research Shauna Bevan and head of intermediary distribution Mark Pittaccio, replaced by Adam Carruthers and Steve Hill respectively.
"The world is changing very quickly and Charles Stanley is no longer a group of little businesses," Aldous said. "We had to put some people 'at risk' while we decided on new roles and some of them decided to leave or did not want the new role."
Having completed this restructure, Aldous is now keen to refine these systems and make the firm more efficient.
He also wants to work closely with smaller IFAs to improve cohesion between the firm's financial planning and investment management arms, although it is already working with the larger adviser networks.
"We are working to become a leading wealth manager and we measure that by client feedback, which is excellent, staff engagement that is improving, assets under management of £22.7bn (but we want to grow this substantially) and our stockmarket valuation, which needs work.
"The improvements in the business have not been reflected in the share price but it should improve as we become more profitable."
Personal Portfolio Service
Meanwhile, Aldous has previously spoken about the difficulties of retaining smaller clients, due to the burden of reporting and transaction costs.
But in a bid to provide a solution for this part of its client base, Charles Stanley has launched a Personal Portfolio Service this month for clients with less than £150,000.
This offers five risk-profiled multi-asset portfolios, telephone-based ongoing advice from investment managers, as well as annual reviews and suitability checks for 0.5% per year, plus fund charges.
The overall charge for the PPS is 1.75%-1.84% and there are currently no minimum investment thresholds.
Funds target inflation plus 1%-4% depending on risk levels and can invest in active and passive funds, ETFs, bonds and equities.
Aldous said a slimmed-down version could be offered to clients using D2C service Charles Stanley Direct in due course.
"It is difficult not to be 'me too' but we have tried to make them similar to our bespoke portfolios," he said. "It is hard to justify bespoke portfolios for pots smaller than £150,000, so this is a cheaper alternative and a way for us to keep those clients."
Adviser solutions reorganisation
In addition, Charles Stanley has also carried out a 'root and branch' reorganisation of its range of adviser solutions which now includes the Matterley fund, dynamic passive portfolios, standard or tailored multi-manager portfolios, inheritance tax portfolio, multi-asset portfolios, court of protection and bespoke discretionary-managed portfolios.
These range in minimum investment from £1,000 for the first three options to £150,000 for the latter three.
Cost considerations have been an important part of building the proposition, with AMCs starting from as low as 0.21% plus VAT for one of the five dynamic passive portfolios.
Aldous commented: "We are finding ourselves up against ludicrous fees if firms are using their own in-house trackers, but then they add underlying additional costs too.
"We value openness and most of the charges these firms add on are already included in our fees. We have noticed investors becoming more price-sensitive."
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