PWS Financial Consulting | FE Financial Express Case Study

FE Analytics: “A very powerful tool, which is at the core of everything we do.”

Such is the verdict of Nick Grogan, paraplanner for PWS Financial Consulting, who liked the solution so much he ‘brought it with him’ when he joined.

Liverpool-based PWS Financial Consulting Limited was founded in 1953 and serves private clients mainly, ranging in assets from 50,000 to several million pounds.

Nick Grogan is the paraplanner at PWS. As part of this role, he takes care of all the “technical stuff” required to put together the client portfolios. He is also the principal user of FE Analytics, using the solution to provide advisers with the research and reports they need.

An FE Analytics user in his previous company, Nick found it so useful in what he was doing there that when he moved to PWS, he suggested his new company utilise it too. Previously, PWS had relied on software from O&M Systems; FE Analytics replaced this solution, and Nick uses it extensively in his paraplanning and reporting activities.

Support for new business and existing clients

Nick uses FE Analytics to model a prospective client’s current investment situation, and on the basis of where that client wants to be in the future, to put forward an alternative investment solution. FE Analytics’ comparison reports allow him to demonstrate the value of the new proposition side-by-side with the existing investments.

He also uses it extensively to prepare for client reviews and prior to proposing a move to another plan. It helps him to determine which funds should go into the new proposition and enables a comparison to be run, using the Dynamic Portfolio Tool, to chart the performance of ‘existing versus proposed’ and also to factor in ‘what if?' scenarios and display the effect of historic changes.

“FE Analytics’ charting is very good for performing this type of comparison and historical performance tracking. We can do it on an annualised basis to demonstrate, for example, that while the cost difference [between the existing and new plan] may be, for example, 0.2 % per annum, over the last five years our proposition may have produced 1% each year more over the period. FE Analytics allows us to demonstrate this pictorially in a way that is easy to understand,” says Nick.

An added benefit is that FE Analytics ensures a fully compliant process by saving an audit trail of all the research and historical portfolio changes for the client.

Model Portfolios

Nick relies on FE Analytics “quite heavily” when putting together PWS’ own model portfolios too. It helps in asset allocation, having data for all of the indices and also for the selection of the funds themselves.

Benefits of FE Analytics

PWS is happy with the data coverage provided by FE Analytics. “It has everything we need,” says Nick. “The sheer depth of data is very useful in all aspects of what we do - and the data quality is also good.”

The breadth of functionality is appreciated too. Nick considers it a “powerful tool for the paraplanner”; one that is enabling him to do “so much” with it. He has encountered very few situations where he has concluded – “I can’t actually do that.”

FE Analytics has allowed PWS to improve the information they provide to clients, who have noticed in particular that the presentation of the information they receive is much better now. Clients are also getting more in-depth information than previously, with some picking up on beta figures, for example. “So there’s been a definite improvement there,” says Nick, “both in terms of what we are discussing with them and the details of our investment process that we are sharing.”

He also points to FE Analytics’ ease of use; and the fact that it is web-based, making it more easily accessible and faster-running than the previous solution.

When asked if he felt FE was keeping up with advisers’ requirements, Nick points to two recent developments which he has found particularly useful: FE Transmission – a DFM model portfolio comparison service, which allows advisers to compare performance figures. These comparisons have proved difficult for advisers to obtain in the past, given the lack of data available on such portfolios. “It’s a way of benchmarking yourself against other investment managers,” says Nick. “It’s very good.” He also appreciates the FE Passive Fund Rating service.

“In terms of continuing to meet advisers’ requirements, I would say that FE is ahead of the market – not just keeping up with it,” he concludes.