© 2019 Bluecoat Wealth Management

Decisions should not be taken based solely on the content of this website, individual advice should be taken first. Content is aimed at UK residents.

Bluecoat Wealth Management is an appointed representative of Best Practice IFA Group, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), FCA no. 223112. Registered Office: 11 Lady Bee Enterprise Centre, Albion Street, Southwick BN42 4BW. Registered in England and Wales no. 6828686. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is available to sort out individual complaints that financial services businesses and their clients are unable to resolve. To contact FOS please visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

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The current renewed volatility in financial markets is reviving unwelcome feelings among many investors—feelings of anxiety, fear and a sense of power...

Living with volatility

November 24, 2011

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Platforms – a valuable shield against fraud

June 6, 2019

 

Investment platforms have been around in the UK for nearly 20 years, and after a slow start, today are used by over 90% of Financial Advisers as a simpler and more efficient way to manage clients’ portfolios. Today there are more than 30 platforms available in the UK, despite some notable big players exiting the market, AXA and American Express among them.

 

Platforms charge clients a fee for acting as custodians; typically somewhere between 0.25% and 0.4% per annum, but the services available differ widely, as does the level of customer experience, and long-term financial sustainability.

 

The boiler room fraud

 

A newsletter last week from a Venture Capital Trust (VCT) manager, warned clients to be wary of unsolicited emails and phone calls from “companies” offering to buy their VCT shares. Often the offer sounds like a good deal but the scammers require an upfront fee or bond that will be refunded if the sale does not go through. This sounds all too familiar – but how do the scammers know someone owns these shares in the first place?

 

VCTs are shares, and the list of shareholders is a public record, meaning that it is easy to identify shareholders and target them for a scam. This is true of all listed companies – if you hold shares directly, your details are in the public domain. Your postman will also be delivering an extraordinary amount of additional post.

 

Your shield against fraud

 

Some platforms are able to hold shares in clients’ accounts, which has a number of advantages;

 

Shares are held in the custodian’s name – shielding your personal details from scammers

 

You receive one consolidated tax report each year instead of dividend vouchers from numerous companies

 

It dramatically reduced the amount of correspondence – platforms advise of any corporate actions and, if you’re interested, company reports are available online.

 

Conclusion

 

Platforms are not right for everyone, and not all platforms are able to hold shares, but for many people they provide a convenient way of holding their investments, and can be a valuable protection against the prying eyes of scammers. Speak to us to review whether a platform is the right solution for you, or if you want to hold existing shareholdings on your platform.

 

Articles on this website are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. They are not offered as and do not constitute financial advice. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking advice from a professional. Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. Capital is at risk; investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise.

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