The Investment Committee (IC) met on Monday 23 January and reflected on the downstream impact of the dramatic escalation in geopolitical risks, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, now almost 12 months ago, and the associated commodity price shocks.
The macro environment is radically different to the optimistic one prevailing at the start of last year. Global growth has slowed much more than anticipated, whilst the expected ‘temporary’ spike in inflation, rather than easing, further increased and has become embedded. As core measures of inflation remained far above central bank targets and headline rates reached double digits in most economies, this prompted global central banks to embark on the most rapid pace of policy tightening in 40 years.
The current macro perspective can perhaps be best described as a fiscal and monetary ‘hangover’. The previous 10-year plus regime, where a 2% inflation target was made possible due to secular disinflationary forces, is not normal by historical standards. The supply chain problems that emerged in 2021, following the initial economic recovery from Covid, extended into 2022 as labour shortage issues and the ensuing commodity price shock embedded a higher level of inflation and lowered growth expectations.
Now the elephant in the room is high inflation, requiring rising global interest rates and a reduction in the bloated balance sheets of the central banks. This implies steeper yield curves, more quantitative tightening and ongoing high budget deficits. Alongside extended levels of bond market leverage (mainly due to widespread use within LDI strategies) and persistently high inflation, the risk of a liquidity driven global government debt crisis and ongoing bond volatility increases.
The impact of both the energy supply shock and the rapid tightening in monetary policy will slow global real growth, but also risks some economies flirting with moderate or intermittent recession in 2023. This is particularly pertinent to the UK economy, forecasted by the IMF to be the only G7 country to contract this year. It continues to grapple with supply chain issues following the Covid bounce back and has a higher dependence on expensive liquid natural gas, which has been driving up the cost of living even further. This is alongside rising taxes, labour shortages, widespread public sector worker unrest and the persistent lack of productivity growth in the economy.
However, whilst there are significant short-term headwinds in the UK, markets always look forward and signs of inflation easing will help slow the pace and quantum of further rate rises. The IC discussed the latest proposed Capital Markets Assumptions (CMA’s) to be applied in Dynamic Planner. The impact of the sharp rise in bond yields across the board over the previous quarter and the observed uptick in their volatility, has been reflected in the calibration process when setting the CMA’s this quarter.
Given the considerable economic headwinds, the key unknowns are how close we are to reaching the peak in the interest rate cycle this year and the extent of potential corporate defaults, which are still running at low levels by historical standards. For equities, the focus is now on the extent of earnings downgrades and how much of the recession risk is already priced into current valuations.
Dynamic Planner’s asset and risk model provides volatility, covariance, correlation and expected return assumptions, which are updated each quarter. They cover a wide range of bond maturities, equity market capitalisations and alternative assets, thereby equipping users with the flexibility to tilt portfolios relative to the risk-adjusted benchmarks as they see fit. Since the CMA’s are updated each quarter, these remain sensitive to long-term secular trends and reflect the average expected outcomes for investors buying and selling at different times over the cycle.
You can read the full Investment Committee update here
17 January 2023: Dynamic Planner, the UK’s leading financial planning system and Quilter Financial Planning, a leading financial advice network, have entered into a long-term partnership agreement which will see Dynamic Planner provided to advisers within the Quilter group.
Quilter advisers will be able to fully access everything in Dynamic Planner’s one system including: industry leading psychometric risk and sustainability profiling; investment progress reviews; cash flow modelling; digital client access, recommendations, and research. Quilter will benefit from Dynamic Planner’s product governance target market and panelling functionality, which along with a shared consumer focused culture, will support them in meeting the new Consumer Duty. Dynamic Planner already works closely with Quilter Investors, Quilter Cheviot and the customer proposition team.
Dynamic Planner will fully integrate into technology already used by Quilter Financial Planning to ensure ease of data flow for users and maximise operational efficiency centrally. Roll out of Dynamic Planner to Quilter advisers has begun and is expected to be completed by Spring 2023.
In an early adoption programme, Quilter advisers using Dynamic Planner have already seen significant improvement in productivity, with feedback indicating that advisers can move from servicing 80 clients to over 300, an increase of 275%, whilst at the same time deepening relationships and spending less time on paperwork.
Ben Goss, CEO, Dynamic Planner said: “We are delighted to partner with Quilter Financial Planning to support their thousands of financial advisers in the delivery of outcome focused financial planning in an age of Consumer Duty. We have invested heavily in our one system technology in recent years and look forward to working closely with Quilter as a partner to help power their financial planning process with Dynamic Planner at scale.”
Steve Gazard, CEO, Quilter Financial Planning said: “We have been piloting the Dynamic Planner system with a number of key firms and advisers across our business for the last 18 months and have been delighted with the efficiency gains those firms have seen and the improvement in client experience. I am pleased that we have been able to further strengthen our offering by working closely with Dynamic Planner, and as such have a close relationship that will now allow us to rapidly deliver this to our wider adviser base.”
12 January 2023: Dynamic Planner, the UK’s leading risk-based financial planning system has appointed Michael Whitfield as its new Chair following FPE’s investment last year. Michael’s career in financial services spans four decades working in a variety of roles focusing on people and creating the technology to best serve their needs.
Michael founded Thomson Online Benefits in 2000, which he led for 17 years as CEO. He built the organisation from start-up to 500 people serving clients in over 90 countries, cementing its place as a market leader in global benefits software. Since 2018, Michael has focused on injecting his world-class expertise into guiding companies that inspire him, many of which are technology providers directly used by the end client.
Ben Goss, CEO at Dynamic Planner said: “We warmly welcome Michael as our new Chair. He has world-class experience of scaling a UK FinTech business internationally and understands the importance of culture and client focus in a successful business. I and the team look forward to working with him.
“I would like to thank Neil Brown, our previous Chair for his chairmanship, advice and support over the years.”
Dynamic Planner’s Investment Committee (IC) met on 20 October, focusing on the unprecedented shockwaves suffered by UK assets and currency following the September mini-budget and in particular their impact on the lower risk benchmarks.
In expectation of a return to some form of fiscal normality in the UK, the IC considered the wider global perspective. As central banks play catch-up to quench ingrained inflationary pressures, less globally co-ordinated policy responses appear likely, which could further increase bouts of currency and economic volatility, suggesting that asset allocation decisions on country and currency still matter.
The IC discussed the importance of maintaining bond holdings in the lower risk benchmarks and other options, including the wide range of differing bond maturities modelled within Dynamic Planner.
This comprehensive range of asset classes can be used to assess the risk implications if tactical tilting of portfolios from the long-term benchmark allocations is being considered, given current volatile market conditions.
Read the Investment Committee’s full update.
Thank you. To you, the UK financial planning professionals – the advisers, paraplanners and administrators, all forming a growing community of Dynamic Planner users and making it what it is today. A financial planning system adopted by thousands.
Thank you to our asset management partners, who work so openly with us to make Dynamic Planner a trusted hub of whole of market investment and product research. And thank you to the myriad of other people and partners, who all make their important contribution in 2022.
The growth, in particular, of Dynamic Planner’s user community is reflected by the increased usage of the system’s expanding functionality, which caught the judges’ eyes in our entries for the 2022 Schroders UK Platform Awards and 2022 Money Marketing Awards, the ceremonies for which this year fell within a 10-day window in September.
In 2021, something happened. Dynamic Planner was named the ‘Leading independent planning tool provider’ at the UK Platform Awards – before its name was announced again by awards hosts as the ‘Adviser technology provider of the year’ by Money Marketing.
On more than one level, it felt significant. Covid had then been with us in the UK for 18, to say even the least, unsettling months and yet the profession had shown such resilience to adapt overnight to the impact of national lockdowns.
Earlier in 2021 in May, Dynamic Planner’s psychometric sustainability questionnaire was launched, an industry-first, which you, our users, quickly began sharing with your clients to measure their attitude to ESG and sustainable investing. Cash flow planning had launched in Dynamic Planner by the time we sat down for Christmas 2020.
In Q1 2021, a mainstay of the year we could all mark in our diaries and look forward to, the Dynamic Planner Conference, could not be held face-to-face. Postpone? That was one option. But we perhaps took a risk and we determined to translate the social experience of Conference to a virtual platform. Was that really possible? It was. More of you than ever before attended that day and recreated the above sense of community in a wonderful way.
So. Back to the top. That rare achievement of Dynamic Planner receiving industry awards back-to-back could never happen again. 2021 was 2021. This was now. But we were wrong.
“Stop press. Dynamic Planner awarded winner’s trophy at 2022 Money Marketing ceremony,” Yasmina Siadatan, Dynamic Planner’s Sales and Marketing Director, soon shared on LinkedIn.
“We’re the ‘Adviser technology provider of the year’ for the second year in a row. So proud.
“A massive thanks to our clients and partners, who continue to trust us with an incredibly important part of their business.”
National IFA network New Leaf Distribution posted: “We are so happy Dynamic Planner, our IFA tech partner of choice, has won adviser technology provider of the year. All our IFA members use it to help give incredible value and advice to their clients.”
In fact, Dynamic Planner has now been named ‘Adviser technology provider of the year’ back-to-back in 2021 and 2022 by the Money Marketing Awards. And ‘Leading independent planning tool provider’ in 2020, 2021 and 2022 by the UK Platform Awards.
This year’s judges praised Dynamic Planner’s proven track record in the profession, dating back today to its foundation in 2003 and the 2004 launch of Dynamic Planner ‘Classic’, its first iteration.
Judges praised Dynamic Planner’s continued innovation, now approaching two decades later. And they praised its support for hybrid advice, two and year half years on from the first Covid lockdown which made us rethink so much.
Growth, refinement, expansion, evolvement, distilling into a single Dynamic Planner purpose: enabling you to match people with suitable portfolios through engaging financial planning. Why? In the end, so your clients can fund the things which are important to them.
Looking forward to 2023, we can’t say Dynamic Planner will win any awards. But we can say the system will continue to grow and significantly evolve in startling ways to help your firm and to help your clients achieve the above.
Dynamic Planner Co-Founder and CEO Ben Goss wrote in the wake of the 2022 awards: “Delighted to have won this again. Thanks to the judges who recognised the hard work that our team have put in working with clients, to make Dynamic Planner what it is.
“Over the last few years, we have invested heavily in the hybrid financial planning experience. Now our new platform is in place, we have some fantastic developments in the pipeline. Can’t wait to share them and see them add value to practices, small and large.”
Money Marketing added: “One judge particularly liked Dynamic Planner’s focus on areas that added real value to advisers, ‘That is what shone through’.”
Not a Dynamic Planner user? Schedule a free no-obligation demo with a business consultant and experience the full functionality of Dynamic Planner.
Following the rapid economic bounce back from Covid lockdowns, the Investment Committee [IC] had become increasingly concerned about the impact of rising inflation expectations, taking hold at a time when the level of economic and geo-political uncertainty remains elevated.
This environment presents many challenges when constructing risk-adjusted asset allocation benchmarks, particularly given the sensitivity of bonds to rising interest rates and their heightened correlation to equities.
You can read more about Dynamic Planner’s Investment Committee meeting in July, when the annual asset allocation review was conducted.
As part of this process, there was lengthy and detailed discussion around the implications for each of the benchmarks, in the event of an inflation shock and resultant elevated episodes of market volatility.
The strategic changes, which will be live in Dynamic Planner from Friday 7 October 2022, expressed the following themes:
- Minor increases in allocation for the lower risk profiles to cash from fixed interest and international equities
- No net increase in equity exposures, although still committed to the diversification of equity holdings globally
- Some minor re-balancing activities to re-centralise the benchmarks within their respective risk boundaries across profiles 2 – 7
A reminder: on Thursday 20 October 2022, Dynamic Planner’s Chief Investment Strategist, Abhi Chatterjee will present an update on the performance of the asset allocation benchmarks and the wider market outlook. Register for the quarterly webinar.
Dynamic Planner has launched Product and Platform Research, ‘fit for the future tech’ which gives advisers the ability to research investment and retirement products, whilst meeting the evolving needs of clients and regulation.
Part of Dynamic Planner as standard, Product and Platform Research is available to Dynamic Planner users from today and comes with all the benefits of working seamlessly within one system, avoiding the risks of re-keying and miscalibration.
The technology powering Dynamic Planner’s Product and Platform Research is designed in line with PROD and Consumer Duty regulatory requirements, putting clients at the heart of the process, and has data sourced direct from providers across the UK market. It simplifies what can be a vast task, enabling advisers to quickly identify those features that can lead to good client outcomes.
Rather than ‘scoring’ products or providers by the number of features, Dynamic Planner’s Product and Platform Research empowers the adviser with all the information necessary to determine which matches the need and preferences of the consumer. Selection criteria and research can be saved and matched to a firm’s target market. At a firm level, advisers can manage their centralised propositions, segmenting clients into defined target markets and tying product research to them.
Chris Jones, Proposition Director at Dynamic Planner said: “The world of financial planning and regulation has evolved more than ever this century. Yet in the area of research, firms have been stuck with technology of the past, faced with as many as 300 product features and the challenge of matching and explaining them to a client. We asked advice firms what we could do to help them navigate this maze of features. They told us they wanted clarity over complexity, a simplified process and something different to what they had used before.
“Working from a blank canvas, we have been able to create technology that is fit for now and the future, and guided by PROD and Consumer Duty. Dynamic Planner’s Product and Platform Research puts clients at its heart, simplifying the process and efficiently highlighting product features which can be demonstrated to lead to good client outcomes. It provides an unblinkered view of the market with all information, sourced directly from providers.
“We’ve gone even further to meet the needs of the financial planning process and built the ability to segment clients into defined target markets, tying product research to them to consistently deliver good outcomes. Along with potential cost savings, it has the key benefit of being part of Dynamic Planner’s one system, enabling firms to save time, money and work seamlessly in one place.”
Not a Dynamic Planner user? Schedule a free no-obligation demo with a business consultant and experience the full functionality of Dynamic Planner.
- Leading UK software focused private equity growth firm backs Dynamic Planner’s management team and ambitious growth plans
- Dynamic Planner’s independent focus and strategy will remain
14 July 2022: Dynamic Planner, the UK’s leading risk based financial planning system, has welcomed a significant investment from FPE Capital.
The investment from FPE, a leading UK software focused private equity growth firm, will back the current management team and help accelerate the growth of Dynamic Planner and the delivery of its ambitious plans in the UK and Europe.
Dynamic Planner has been growing rapidly in recent years and now serves almost 40% of wealth advice firms and over 150 asset managers, profiling over £250 billion of assets via its SaaS platform. Headquartered in Reading, the company employs over 100 diverse and talented people and is on track to pass £10m in annual recurring licence revenues this year. In the last 12 months it has launched a raft of upgrades to ensure Dynamic Planner and its open API is the one end-to-end financial planning system firms need in a hybrid world. Earlier this year it appointed Christophe Ponette as European managing director based in Luxembourg to lead the company’s continental expansion.
FPE Capital has a successful track record in backing SaaS businesses with a focus on market leading, quality products and strong, client focused, cultures.
Ben Goss, CEO at Dynamic Planner said:
“As a fast growing, privately owned company we were looking for an institutional investor partner to help us take the business to the next level in the UK and internationally. Our selection of FPE was based not just on their track record of backing software companies that successfully scale, but also on their team who we feel share our values.
“From the outset FPE understood the value that Dynamic Planner brings to our clients and industry as an independent provider of technology and asset risk modelling serving a growing community in the wealth management sector who trust and rely on us. They also share our vision for solving our industry’s major challenges through technology such as process digitisation, customer experience, investing sustainably for future generations, and omni channel financial planning in a post pandemic world.
“This investment allows us to progress our industry for the better and as a management team we look forward to sharing the benefits of this collaboration with our clients and team in the months and years ahead.”
David Barbour, Managing Partner at FPE commented:
“We are delighted to be working with the team at Dynamic Planner on their exciting growth ambitions and to build on their existing leading position in the wealth management sector with new products for this core market.”
Dynamic Planner, today announces the appointment of Christophe Ponette as Managing Director for Europe to lead the company’s EU expansion. Christophe was previously the MD of Avaloq, the European Banking and Wealth Technology Provider for Benelux, speaks multiple languages and has over 25 years’ experience working in sales and management positions in European markets including The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Belgium.
His appointment follows an extensive, two-year exploratory process which has looked intensively at the needs of European financial services firms, asset managers and clients as a result of MiFIDII, IDD and the growth in risk-based investing.
Christophe will work in collaboration with Simon Colboc who has joined Dynamic Planner in a non-executive capacity. Simon has 25 years’ experience in Financial Services, including executive positions at Fortis, BNP Paribas and Prudential Plc. He heads up FECIF’s work on pan-European pensions and runs the Financial Services Practice of Paris-based firm CMI Strategies.
Dynamic Planner has signed an agreement with The European Federation of Financial Advisers and Financial Intermediaries (FECIF) an independent and non-profit-making organisation exclusively at the service of its financial adviser and intermediary members, who are from the 27 EU countries plus the UK and Switzerland; it is the only European body representing European financial advisers and intermediaries. FECIF is based in Brussels, at the heart of Europe and will be working with Dynamic Planner to identify and introduce potential partners.
Dynamic Planner has already completed the localisation of its risk and sustainability profiling instruments for France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium working with in-country experts and financial advisers to ensure they adapt to local requirements. Dynamic Planner will localise its full functionality including: reviews, goal based cash flow planning and suitability reporting to provide its one financial planning system to European clients.
Ben Goss, CEO, Dynamic Planner said: “Backed by almost two decades of experience of Dynamic Planner in the UK, we are now taking our leading financial planning system to the Continent. Europe is in the foothills of an enormous shift in the way that advisers help households manage their finances and prepare for retirement in terms of the investment risk they need to take and the regulation that they face. The market feedback we have had is that we can help financial services firms successfully meet these challenges as we do in the UK.
“This is a natural progression for Dynamic Planner and an incredibly exciting time for us as both a team and a business. We have already learnt a great deal from our engagements with European partners, advisers and experts about how financial advice is given in different countries, for example in the area of sustainability, and much of this will be beneficial for our overall product for our UK clients too.
“Our mission is to help firms match people to suitable portfolios through engaging financial planning and we believe there is a huge opportunity to contribute the expertise and one financial planning system technology we offer in the EU.”
As part of the exploratory process, Dynamic Planner’s Head of Psychology and Behavioural Insights Dr Louis Williams, conducted a large-scale country specific and analysis study of a cross section of the populations in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain to understand attitude to risk (ATR) and views on sustainability to assist in the creation of bespoke psychometric questionnaires for each territory. Local financial advisers reviewed translations and provided their views on the question set and framework.
Key differences between the five European countries and UK population include:
- Belgium and Germany have significantly higher average levels of risk tolerance in regard to investments compared to France, Italy and Spain;
- All European countries appear to be more risk averse than the UK population;
- Significantly more Europeans from all five countries were a risk profile 2 (4.49%- 7.54%) and 3 (11.52%-18.87%) and fewer a risk profile 5 (14.75% – 18.62%);
- Significantly fewer UK respondents were a risk profile 1 (0.23%), 2 (0.74%), 3 (3.55%) and 4 (14.09%), and more a risk profile 5 (31.23%), 6 (27.19%) and 7 (16.7%).
- French respondents have significantly higher average scores when measuring the importance of sustainability in comparison to Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium;
- More European respondents view sustainability as of higher importance than UK counterparts;
- Significantly fewer respondents from France, Germany, Italy and Spain (10.69% – 14.76%) have a low importance sustainability profile. The UK have significantly more within this profile (27.67%);
- Significantly fewer respondents from the UK consider sustainability to be of high (8.24%) and very high importance (3.8%).
Christophe Ponette, Managing Director, Europe, Dynamic Planner said: “We have undertaken extensive country specific research to enable us to understand what is needed and begin to adapt what we offer to each market. This has already informed the design of a range of country specific, multi-language risk profiling and sustainability questionnaires. This insight has also highlighted a need for more education around financial risk and this is central to what we do at Dynamic Planner.
“Large organisations in Europe face many challenges – ageing populations; low savings rates and clients with assets held across different institutions. Above all there is a need to create a culture of investment, improving the overall customer experience and establishing a better and more efficient integration of the financial planning process. We believe Dynamic Planner can provide the answer to these challenges.”
To find out more about how Dynamic Planner can help organisations in Europe, please see our Corporate Brochure and our Guide to Client Profiling in Europe, both available here
Dynamic Planner has launched Client Access, a customer focused and interactive technology designed to help advisers drive deeper client engagement and relationships in the new flexible hybrid world of financial advice.
Now available to Dynamic Planner users, Dynamic Planner Client Access empowers clients to complete the psychometric risk and sustainability profiling questionnaires remotely, enriching the process of data capture. Fully interactive, clients benefit from simple language and short videos to clearly communicate key messages and guide them at every step. It is mobile friendly with screens optimised for all devices, with the look and feel fully configurable to a firm’s branding.
Yasmina Siadatan, Sales & Marketing Director at Dynamic Planner said: “While remote advice is here to stay, it can be a challenge for advisers to make the process engaging and easy to understand for clients, as well as build deep relationships which ultimately result in better outcomes. Dynamic Planner Client Access gives advisers that fundamental piece of the hybrid advice puzzle, whilst enhancing their whole experience in an interactive and efficient way.
“We believe it will be fundamental in supporting hybrid advice as demand grows even more, with the ability for advice firms to engage successfully on a remote basis with clients a major step along this path. Advisers will be able to improve outcomes through better informed conversations with clients, whilst at a business level, the increased efficiency of the process will enable firms to increase capacity in their business.”
Advisers can choose which questionnaires clients receive, and once captured, the information flows seamlessly back into Dynamic Planner to support the profiling, cash flow and review processes. With automatic notification that the process is complete, and any inconsistencies in answers flagged, Dynamic Planner Client Access increases the efficiency of advice firms and enables them to focus on more important things such as having good conversations with clients.
Client Access is available now in Dynamic Planner; see for yourself