Outsourcing reportOctober 2017
The rapid rise of investment outsourcing in the past 10 to 15 years shows no signs of slowing down as advisory business models continue to evolve in the wake of market volatility and the ever-changing regulatory framework. Industry estimates put the number of advisers using Discretionary Fund Managers (DFMs) at around 40-50% and many expect this number to reach 60-70% in the next few years.
This trajectory is reasonable considering advisers are now under more pressure than ever and their time is precious. The brave new world following the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review has forced them to increase transparency as they seek to put client service at the centre of their business model. This has come at a cost, both in terms of time and money. As a result, many advisers no longer consider investment selection to be their strength or value-add.
Outsourcing investment decisions to a third-party began moving into mainstream over 10 years ago as the impact of a prolonged bear market, the split-cap crisis and the technology bubble showed many advisers investment selection was not the simple task many thought it was. Most importantly for UK advisers, the demise of with-profits products led to a search for similar one-stop-shop solutions. Skipping ahead a decade; the global financial crisis coupled with the implementation of regulatory change through the RDR heavily bolsters the case for outsourcing.
This is further supported by the CoreData Adviser Fees and Business Models report 2015, which shows advisers only spend 15% of their time managing existing client investments. More importantly, only 11% of advisers consider managing existing client investments to be their most important task.
With the dust barely settled on the RDR, the continued clamour for outsourced investment offerings now has a poster child in the shape of MiFiD II; Advisers are set to see further costs and regulatory processes thrust upon them as a result of this piece of regulation. Increased transaction reporting, investment research rules and disclosure of best execution are expected to generate both one-off and on-going costs which are unlikely to be passed on to clients.
The advantages are obvious. Advisers no longer have the time to trawl through thousands of funds to find the right investment for their clients. This time restriction has also led to the rise of risk-rated and risk-targeted funds, which are now prominent offerings across the majority of asset managers in the UK.
Cost and control form the central pillars of the advisory business model and many have now looked externally to keep their pricing and performance metrics in check. For some advisers, the use of a DFM, or in some cases a multi-asset fund, is now ingrained in their investment process as they look to improve business efficiency.
However, significant challenges remain for the future growth of the outsourcing market. Cost is often the elemental driving force among advisers who do not/have minimal exposure to outsourcing as they look to keep “all in costs” south of 2%. They remain sceptical about whether the increased cost will consistently translate into additional return.
This report takes an in depth look at adviser interpretations of the outsourcing market and seeks to answer questions such as the route advisers feel most comfortable using to access the outsourced market; which clients are most appropriate for outsourcing; tools used and also the material benefits of outsourcing on their business. The report also covers what advisers look for in an outsourced solution.Back