AJ Bell have stepped up their game to attract direct investors with the forthcoming launch of a low-cost app-based direct-to-consumer proposition called “Dodl”. The app will be accessible through social media and is clearly intended to grow a customer base from a younger, largely untapped demographic. We expect to see more of these kinds of offerings coming to market from future-focused firms, making use of new technology and distribution channels to offer low cost propositions to first-time investors with the potential to become long-term clients. AJ Bell must have got something right having clearly ruffled the feathers of one newer entrant to the market with Adam Dodds, Freetrade’s CEO, dishing out some pretty strong views on the new AJ Bell proposition.
St. James’s Place has dropped four managers from its £14bn AuM Global Equity fund, replacing them with a new cohort to drive better ESG alignment. This is a big blow for the (ex-)managers, given their vocal focus on ESG in marketing and thought leadership. The primary impact will be to reduce the fund’s carbon footprint, and the fees of the fund itself will also fall. Further evidence that if you fail to adequately integrate ESG considerations into your strategy, you will struggle to attract and retain investors.
Earlier this month, Schroders CEO Peter Harrison used the ALFI Conference in London to set out the firm’s future focus on growing its proposition and offering around advice. This mirrors a trend we’re seeing across the full spectrum of the UK investment market, with firms seeking to move up and down the value chain to not only capture a greater share of wallet from investors, but also to create a deeper and longer-term connection with their clients.
Finally, this article by New Model Adviser provides a great summary of the recent corporate goings-on in the UK platform market. Many of these acquisitions have been driven by a desire to grow a more integrated group of companies, and “M&A mania” shows no sign of slowing down both in the retail wealth market and beyond.
Also look out for a piece our Associate Partner Mary Wong recently wrote for Investment Week on why CEOs Must Own Consumer Duty. Mary explores how strong leadership is vital for the culture shift and industry collaboration needed to truly deliver better financial outcomes for consumers – and why this can transform your business.
And finally, in case you missed it…
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