At platform level
A client account will be set up directly with a ‘wrap’ (administrative) platform that administers your portfolio, and acts as the nominee for assets held. You nominate a specific bank account from which payments can be made either to or from. Monies cannot be paid away, without your written instruction. Any monies held by the wrap are treated as ‘client monies’ and must be handled in accordance with the strict rules of the Financial Conduct Authority. These monies are ring-fenced from the wrap provider’s balance sheet. Its role is restricted to the maintenance of the registers detailing your holdings and directions to buy and sell the assets according to your direct instructions. Under our advisory licence, we must obtain written permission from you to pass instructions to the wrap platform to undertake trades to buy and sell funds and other products.
At fund level
All of the funds that our clients are invested in are run by leading third party investment managers, who have the power to pass instructions on the fund’s behalf to buy or sell securities, but again do not handle client monies directly. Each fund is overseen by a board of trustees who have a fiduciary duty to act in investors’ best interests. Investor registers are maintained by the independent Registrar & Administrator. The assets of the fund are held by large independent custodian banks and are regularly audited by leading accountancy firms. Fund assets are ring fenced from the balance sheet of the custodian bank. As part of our due diligence process we make sure that we are comfortable with all parties involved in the chain.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Finally, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the UK’s statutory fund of last resort for customers of financial services firms. The FSCS can pay compensation to consumers if a financial services firm is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it. The FSCS is an independent body, set up under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). [Taken from the FSCS website at www.fscs.org.uk. The FSCS will compensate in relation to investments up to 100% of £50,000 and 90% of the claim on insurance based products with no upper limit].
There are several layers of security that our clients enjoy. The first is that we never handle client money.