CFS scopes demand for managed accounts

CFS head of retail platforms Peter Labrie.


By Julie May

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Colonial First State (CFS) had not ruled out boosting managed account capabilities across its FirstChoice and FirstWrap platforms, an executive from the group said this week.

CFS head of retail platforms Peter Labrie told financialobserver despite a “perceived” hesitation by institutions to consider managed account structures for their platforms, CFS acknowledged there was growing interest in the area and a lot more conversations were being had.

Labrie pointed to CFS launching the Commonwealth Private Separately Managed Account (CPSMA) in May last year as one example of how the business had made inroads in the area.

“The managed accounts space is still evolving, so for us in 2015 it is very much about understanding what advisers and licensees are trying to achieve in that regard,” he said, adding it was a space CFS was keeping an eye on.

When financialobserver asked whether CFS would consider adding further separately managed accounts to its platforms, whether they be those manufactured by parent company Commonwealth Bank of Australia or an external provider, he said the next steps would be driven by adviser demand.

Meanwhile, he said the major focuses for the business this year were annuities, the retirement space more broadly and driving greater efficiencies for platform users.

“We will release Challenger and CommInsure annuity products via FirstChoice and FirstWrap mid this year after the functionality has been built,” he said, with research compiled by Investment Trends revealing almost 40 per cent of advisers intended to use some type of annuity in the next 12 months.

In addition, he pointed to several other developments the group planned to roll out in the retirement space this year, however, he would not reveal the specific details of them.

Further, he said CFS had been improving its cash account facilities, particularly in regard to greater functionality, real-time banking and faster turnaround times.

“Our main objective is further improving efficiencies across both platforms and trying to make things easier so advisers can ultimately spend more time with clients,” he said.

“We’ve improved adviser access on a number of fronts and we’ve improved investor access as well, so it’s easier to retrieve account information via portfolio summaries, greater reporting and notifications.”

He said CFS was also still in the early stages of rolling out analytical data to aligned and non-aligned advisers using its platforms, and by aggregating and analysing platform data the business could provide huge value-add to platform users.

The CFS FirstWrap platform was recently rated number one for overall functionality in the Investment Trends “2014 Platform Report”.

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