I love how Dynamic Planner gives you a consistent way of assessing attitude to risk and capacity for loss, of every client. That is integral to our process. It’s one of the first things we do with the client after the terms of business. First, we onboard their investments and then they get a Dynamic Planner risk questionnaire. From there, everything emanates. Dynamic Planner’s advances in digital onboarding have been really helpful, also.
Concise communication. Clear analysis
We really like the investment progress review in Dynamic Planner. It’s great to have all a client’s assets on one platform. A great strength of Dynamic Planner is that, when dealing with multiple providers and multi-asset, you can see everything by product and by fund. You can explain to a client graphically that yes, they have more risky funds along the ‘efficient frontier’, but you are ultimately in the right place with your portfolio.
The investment progress review report is better to read for a client. It has everything, including a wealth projection of where you will likely end up with your investments. We’re really happy with it.
Vulnerability, sustainability profiling
I’m looking forward to introducing the financial wellbeing questionnaire for clients. That will be a big tool to say we’ve asked the questions and a client has told us the answers. Then, every year we’ll ask the questions again to make sure everything is okay. It becomes part and parcel of the review. From a compliance point of view, it’s fantastic.
Like Dynamic Planner’s ESG questionnaire, it’s proof that we have completed the exercise and we’ve discussed it. It is nice to say to a client this is how you profiled on ESG. It’s a discussion point. And every year it will become a discussion point again.
Great face-to-face events
Dynamic Planner’s Training Academies are one of the most useful events you can attend. All the team members there are red hot at what they do. You’re not just talking to salespeople. You’re talking to designers, people who can run everything in the system backwards. The event provided a great insight to what was coming soon in Dynamic Planner and improvements being made.
Fund research – Powerful due diligence
We recommend to clients funds with a Dynamic Planner risk rating, and preferably with a ‘Premium’ research rating. You can say to a client, we’ve researched these funds via Dynamic Planner, and it makes it easy to do in six months’ time.
I certainly would recommend Dynamic Planner to another firm. It’s a well-researched, well thought out system. Also, the wider governance it places on product providers, that in itself acts as a powerful tool. Dynamic Planner governs asset managers’ adherence to its risk measurements and asks them to demonstrate that governance on a quarterly basis. That is powerful due diligence, in terms of a dealing with the client, but also external diligence of funds we are using.
There is one adviser at HR Independent which provides clients with general financial planning with a specialism in trusts and offshore investments. Assets under management are approximately £30m and the investment platform we use first and foremost is Old Mutual. We also use Fidelity and, to a much lesser extent, Cofunds now part of Aegon.
We have used Dynamic Planner for many years pre-RDR and now today it is an essential part of the investment proposition we offer. Let’s say we are completing a review with a client – which is where most of us are earning our money at the moment – and it is face-to-face. Before the meeting, they will receive a link to Dynamic Planner to complete the questionnaire. We will complete an analysis of their portfolio and where it currently sits on the risk profile scale and the efficient frontier in comparison to where they want to be now. We then have a meeting to discuss that.
At that point we can ask the client lots of questions about what they want – do they want to use risk profiled or risk-targeted funds? And what shade of active or passive fund management do they want? We then go back to the client – and what we’re finding when we’re doing client reviews now more and more is that people are saying, ‘I’ve been through the questionnaire now and it would be intellectually inconsistent of me to now say I want anything other than a risk-targeted fund’. Clients like Risk Target Managed (RTM) funds because having determined that someone is, for example, a Risk Profile 7, they know that’s what they’ll get with RTM. If and when markets at some point then enter a downturn, clients know that they hold investments at the risk level they signed up for.
We write to the client detailing their present circumstances, their fee charges and detailing the funds we are now proposing and the rationale behind that. That process works well for us. The FCA, as we all know, is looking carefully at ongoing services for clients. In-house, we always have the debate around client review time, ‘If the FCA walked in the door today and asked us what we are offering clients for our ongoing charges’, we would be absolutely confident that what Dynamic Planner helps us deliver is robust, deliverable and consistent.
We spent a great deal of time and energy here at HR Independent creating a suitable process we could hold up to clients and say, ‘This is what we do and this is what you pay for’. Dynamic Planner plays an integral part in that process and when we were first looking at the design and make-up of that process Dynamic Planner came out ahead of other services, because of the combination of things it offers: the questionnaires and the reports it generates most prominently. We can say to clients, ‘Here is where you are currently invested. Here is where you have just said you want to be. In order to get there, this is what you need to do’.
We can match investments to clients using Premium and Select funds in Dynamic Planner, which puts us fairly and squarely where we want to be and allows you as an adviser to just follow that process, all the way through Dynamic Planner. It is in that capacity that anybody looking at it, perhaps without any prior knowledge whatsoever of financial planning, can say, ‘Yes, I’ve seen what you’ve done there. I can see where I currently am. I can see where I relate to risk and to reward. And I can see what I now need to do to achieve my goals’.
At Advantage Wealth Management we give clients holistic advice, which includes insurance, mortgages and wills alongside the core of the business – investments, pensions and protection.
We first started using Dynamic Planner in 2015. We left the 2plan network and Compliance First (which is part of SimplyBiz) in March 2017 and moved direct to Dynamic Planner. This version is so much better than the one we were using previously.
When we were with Compliance First, we used Dynamic Planner, as so many advisers do as a risk profiler. We didn’t have access to its Portfolio Suitability Hub and Dynamic Planner’s fund research and recommendations. We felt that was hugely important to us and to our process.
We now build model portfolios in Dynamic Planner and we find we are able to extract more information from the system. Cashflow planning and investment solutions are available and can be stored within Dynamic Planner using it to its full capacity.
It has been the right decision for us to go direct to the Financial Conduct Authority. They are an excellent resource. The freedom to choose the right suppliers is very important to us and that was the main reason behind our decision to become directly authorised.
Our background prior to Advantage Wealth Management was working for insurance companies, banks and legal institutions. Compliance, therefore, has always been part of our backgrounds and we are used to that discipline and method of working.
Dynamic Planner is instrumental to our investment proposition. We use multi-asset solutions for investments up to £100,000. Over £100,000, we use model portfolios, multi-asset and other bespoke solutions.
The more information you input into Dynamic Planner, the better the information you are able to obtain. It’s very good at consolidating, visualising and summarising information for clients in an easy to understand way. That’s where it is really beneficial.
Dynamic Planner can produce an Investment and Retirement Financial Plan Report which summarises everything you are recommending. That’s where Dynamic Planner has helped to make our process more efficient and professional. I would have no hesitation in recommending it and have done so in the past.
I offer clients a very personal service. When they call, they speak to me – nobody else. This year, they have been relatively happy with how their portfolios have performed. People don’t necessarily want big returns – they want stability. Hopefully, I have been able to educate my clients that investments will go up and down, but over time they should ensure you achieve your objectives.
One of the benefits of Dynamic Planner is the ability to create and send monthly or quarterly review reports, updating them quickly on the risk level of their portfolio; the value of their investments; and their performance over the last 12 months. Each report takes me less than 10 minutes. Yes, I could send clients an updated valuation in another way, but without Dynamic Planner clients wouldn’t have any comparison, graphically, for performance over the previous month or quarter.
This year (2020), I only had one phone call, at the start of the crisis, from a client who had just started a new business. I told him, ‘I’m here if you need me’. All the rest of my clients waited until I sent them their latest report.
Also, what Dynamic Planner has allowed me to do this year is identify and highlight more easily funds which have performed best in a client’s portfolio. Obviously, with funds which have done well, I can lean towards them more going forwards. I can show that to the client, so they can see why I am making a recommendation to make a change.
I’ve been in the industry for 40 years and back in the day, I designed a very simple spreadsheet to pull everything together in one place, because there wasn’t anything which could do it. When I moved across to Dynamic Planner, some of my clients contacted me to say, ‘I did like the spreadsheet’. I said, ‘Yes, it’s fine, but it’s prone to errors. This is simpler and gives you everything you want’.
In Dynamic Planner’s review reports, clients like the chart showing how their portfolio has performed over the last 12 months. They can see what’s happening – how it’s gone up, gone down and how this year it’s hopefully come back. I can then have a conversation with the client explaining more.
I first started using Dynamic Planner in the autumn of 2019. I use it to risk profile clients through the risk questionnaires and to risk profile and plot their existing investments, which is brilliant. It’s so easy and just a few clicks – then you can show that to the client and say, ‘You’ve come out as a Risk Profile 6 and all your investments are showing as a Risk Profile 6’. Or they’re a 7 and we need to make adjustments to get it to a 6.
Would I recommend Dynamic Planner to another advice firm? Yes I would. It’s so easy to use – and it works on your desktop, your iPad and on your phone.
We are a small, regional IFA and a family business, which has successfully run for 40 years. We first started using Dynamic Planner three or four years ago because of Bankhall essentially. We were using Bankhall’s risk profiler but they went out into the market after RDR was published at the end of 2012. Bankhall chose Dynamic Planner instead.
At the beginning of our investment process we will go out and see a client, accessing Dynamic Planner either on an iPad or with a manual copy. There are several risk profiled funds we use in Dynamic Planner and we only use funds risk profiled by Dynamic Planner, which makes life very easy.
We see a client, see what the profile of the client is and then select suitable funds from Dynamic Planner. We don’t use funds from a particular platform. The only thing we ensure is that they have a Dynamic Planner rating.
Dynamic Planner makes life more simple, in short. It means we don’t have to complete lots and lots of fund research, because Dynamic Planner has already done it for us. We are simply too small a business to physically and adequately research the market for clients. When you feel like all you are doing is running around like a headless chicken simply to keep on top of everything, Dynamic Planner saves vital time.
If we were not able to use Dynamic Planner on an iPad, I would be sat with a client using a piece of paper, going back to the office and then inputting all that information into the system, then going back to the client and telling them what their attitude to risk is.
Now, using Dynamic Planner, I can sit with the client, talk it through in real time. They can instantly feedback and tell me that they aren’t comfortable having investments that risky. In all, that saves me a heck of a lot of time.
The client can sign something there and then, saying they are happy. I can email them a copy, email myself a copy and import and upload all that information via Intelliflo, which is software that speaks to Dynamic Planner, straight into our system. That saves paper, because I don’t have to print copies out. This is where Dynamic Planner is really good and where our old system would not have worked.
Dynamic Planner is a very useful piece of kit for us. It makes the client investment process review so much simpler. We use Genovo for Suitability Reports, which following MiFID II, need to detail the cost of every fund and exactly what you are doing as an adviser.
The client knows then what they are paying for and when we complete investment reviews for clients it makes life very, very easy. Needless to say, Dynamic Planner is very much embedded within our firm and our processes.
We have found that, because we are an old business, lots of people have been dying in the last few years. But we have found that we have been picking up lots of clients in their early 40s and in their 50s now, where previously our clients were predominantly 70 and 80-year-olds. The business is getting younger.
I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Dynamic Planner to a fellow IFA in the South West. Here at Ivor Jones, we have a good relationship with Dynamic Planner and feel we receive good support from them. We had great help from Dynamic Planner when we first moved across to them and were setting everything up.
I have been advising since 1981 and became independent in 1992. I sold that firm after relocating to Worcestershire and, after working with others, soon realised that I needed to be on my own, this time as a one-person firm with support from my husband Chris. I am happy providing high quality, bespoke advice to people who care about their environment and doing good with their money. Funds under influence are no longer my measure of success but more the value I place on quality outcomes.
I have always been passionate about ethical and sustainable investing, which, back in the 1980s, was much less mainstream. It has taken a long time for companies to create a stream of good, sustainable investment portfolios. Often these cannot reflect the very special preferences clients demand, so I have to create some portfolios myself and find ways I can risk-rate these to ensure they fit into compliant advice.
One of the benefits of Dynamic Planner, as I see it, is that I can easily get these portfolios objectively risk rated, something that I was beginning to get concerned about as the new business grew. I needed to find ways to keep moving forward compliantly. Dynamic Planner fills that need.
I wanted software and a service that enabled me, in a sense, to hand over much of the routine to have time to be closer to my clients. I was already a threesixty services member and it was a delight to discover how Dynamic Planner and threesixty fit together to further improve the value of the software.
I have clients who have been loyal for many years which is so important. Of course, you have to ensure everything is strictly compliant and long-standing clients can be managed by earlier standards. I need to have their records and advice also brought up to date. When you work in this sector there are some unusual client preferences that need to be properly documented.
I see Dynamic Planner as a very good vehicle to pull everything together logically. As well as ensuring compliance, it gives me more analysis and planning tools that enhance my process and advice.
I am impressed with the Client Success team at Dynamic Planner as I get to grips with the service. If we have a question or need guidance, I receive fast service in a very pleasant way, even with a touch of humour at times – they are lovely people. Any service of this type must be backed with good support and good communication, which is what I get from Dynamic Planner.
It was a leap of faith to begin using it, but I thought, ‘Let’s test it and try it’. I went for it and am glad I did. If you are looking for a service with great support, it’s a very good idea to test Dynamic Planner.
There are three of us who work at The Pension House – one adviser, a paraplanner and an administrator. We are based in the beautiful countryside of Northamptonshire and offer our clients advice on corporate pensions, private pensions, investments and life insurance. We also hold specialist pension qualifications and can advise on defined benefit, final salary and occupational pension schemes.
The Portfolio Suitability Hub is fantastic
We first began using Dynamic Planner in April 2019 and we use it risk profile our clients. We also use the client reporting functionality, which we like. The reports themselves are easy to read and can be tailored to each client.
We go into Dynamic Planner’s Portfolio Suitability Hub to research and recommend funds for our clients. The Portfolio Suitability Hub is fantastic – I love it.
You can quickly filter down your research to Premium and Select rated funds, which we like, because that’s what you want to recommend to clients: funds which have outperformed their peers. You can filter which funds have had top quartile performance over different timescales, which again is really helpful when filtering investment funds. We nearly always recommend funds for clients, which are Premium and Select rated.
Dynamic Planner saves me time
Using Dynamic Planner saves me time carrying out fund research, particularly if a client has a product I’m not familiar with, which we’ve inherited. You can break it down within Dynamic Planner by product, which saves having to search through a provider’s website looking for the information.
Researching funds on Dynamic Planner’s 1-10 risk scale is very helpful and compliance like it, because it ticks those boxes
I absolutely would recommend Dynamic Planner to other advice firms.
Each of our advisers has around 60 active clients, whose portfolio typically sits between £50,000 to £150,000. We are directly authorised and first began Dynamic Planner about five years ago.
Where it works really well for us is once we’ve collated all of a client’s information and are then looking to make a recommendation, Dynamic Planner helps speeds up that process. It makes it much more efficient, because all the research is there for you, about a client’s existing products and their level of risk.
Dynamic Planner’s fund research is a great resource. It filters funds down to ones specific to the client’s needs. Otherwise, you could be looking at thousands of different solutions for a client. Fundamentally, it helps make something which could be quite complex more simple. From a client’s point of view, they receive a good level of documentation about the process, supporting a recommendation you’re making.
Explain risk more clearly to clients
Dynamic Planner gives you a great starting point with a client, because a lot of clients wouldn’t understand the level of risk they’re currently taking with their pensions and investments. I like the fact that everything covered in a review is included in one document, which tells a story for the client of the last 12 months. Our clients like it.
It’s all well and good talking about trust and the relationship you enjoy with clients, but it’s really important that they understand what you’re doing and why, which is why the literature you can produce for them in Dynamic Planner is so important: it brings their financial plan and its implications to life.
Should, for example, a client be looking at taking more risk? What will that mean to them in retirement? Dynamic Planner allows you to demonstrate that, without producing multiple reports. That really helps. And it makes you come across well to a client. You look professional.
We’ve started using Dynamic Planner’s Client Review. Until Covid, we had been completing reviews for clients in our own way, but that is very time consuming. The hardest review to complete is the first one, because you obviously haven’t got historic valuations for a client’s portfolio in the system, but I still completed a review the other day in 45 minutes.
Previously, for a simple review, it would have taken a couple of hours. For something more complex, it could have taken up to five hours just collating everything. On top of that, it was then the amount of paperwork we were passing on to the client, which was why we wanted to look at what we could do to try and avoid that.
If you’re reviewing a client’s portfolio, they can be invested in up to 20 to 25 different funds. But Dynamic Planner brings all of that information efficiently together for you and, as a business now, I am an advocate that we become better at using it and that it becomes our main system we use to both manage our business and more importantly, support our clients
We’re on a journey with Dynamic Planner
As an advice firm, I can buy system on top of system, but the thing I need to adopt is a system which encompasses most of our business. In an ideal world, that system would do absolutely everything, but the important difference is, Dynamic Planner is working towards that. We will then hopefully have one system encompassing everything we need to do.
As a firm, I like that we’re on a journey with Dynamic Planner and when new developments are released, you can feel if it’s the right thing for you to adopt. You can build your business around Dynamic Planner. Then, because you’re only working in one system, in time everyone at your firm becomes an expert using it and you’re getting the most from it.
Dynamic Planner, ultimately, supports us as financial advisers. We’re growing and the world is evolving, but Dynamic Planner is growing and evolving too. It just makes logical sense to use it more and support our clients in the best way possible.
Milton Gordon & Co are independent financial advisers. It is a family business in the heart of Henley-on-Thames with assets under management of approximately £16m. I work with private clients and small business owners, and provide independent, holistic, financial planning advice.
I first started using Dynamic Planner in 2013 and use it, within Milton Gordon’s investment proposition, for its risk profiling process and also for designing investment portfolios. I initially heard about it through word of mouth recommendations from other users.
At Milton Gordon & Co, I use mainly Transact, onto which I embed my portfolios and also for larger clients with bespoke portfolios.
Dynamic Planner has added value to the firm, in terms of ensuring suitability, by helping me design investment portfolios. In terms of efficiency, it saves me many hours of work and adds accuracy to my portfolio design. Finally, in terms of demonstrating value to clients, I can easily demonstrate to them my portfolio design process.
It was a quick and simple process to start using Dynamic Planner. I felt that they listened to me and understood my challenges as a financial adviser.