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The end-to-end platform aiming to help advisers recommend, process and review

Digital Wealth Systems platform DIGI was built with the objective of helping adviser firms provide time and cost-efficient recommendations, reviews, and on-going monitoring to their clients.

DIGI is aimed at firms delivering advice to clients with modest assets and/or providing simplified investment services. It is a web-based platform that is designed to help advisers connect with their clients, recommend investments, and perform compliant reviews in a cost and time effective manner. DIGI provides firms with their own, white-labelled, and customisable, platform and client portal. Though a limited list of integrations with Practice Management Systems is currently available (Iress, Intelliflo and Adviser Cloud) our understanding is that DIGI will work on this as uptake for the tool increases. However, we do wonder if this might be achieved faster using the Origo Integration Hub.

The platform sitting behind DIGI is provided by SECCL however, the User Interface (UI) and Technology provided on the front end is all built in-house by Digital Wealth Systems. For the time being firms can only use DIGI if they are recommending P1 Investment Management portfolios (as part of the joint venture between DIGI and P1).  DIGI have confirmed that they will look to add other DFM’s in the future but this will mainly be driven by adviser demand. P1 provides DIGI with current valuations, full asset breakdowns and transaction histories (that are automatically updated on the platform and client portal) and allows users of DIGI to manage their clients’ investments from within the tool. This functionality is designed to save a significant amount of time when processing client recommendations and placing trades. There are currently sixteen model portfolios available with varying Risk Profiles, Investment Styles (Hybrid, Passive, Ethical) and Portfolio Objectives (Income, Balanced & Capital Growth) to choose from. These portfolios can be held in either a GIA, ISA, or Pension (both accumulation and decumulation).

Adviser – Home Page
For simplicity, the platform is split into five core areas, each with the aim of assisting adviser firms provide end-to-end financial advice:

  1. Clients – where advisers can view and add clients.
  2. Proposals – where advisers can view existing and create new proposals.
  3. Reports – where advisers can view existing and create new reports.
  4. Messages – where messages sent and received between adviser and client can be viewed.
  5. Settings – where firms can update/set; company details, users, adviser details, review schedule dates, document settings and client agreement settings etc.

A typical user journey starts by adding a new client and their personal, tax and bank details (needed for submitting business later in the process). DIGI will automatically ask the user if they would like to invite the newly added client to the Client Portal.

Client Onboarding – Stage 1
Client Onboarding – Stage 3
Client Onboarding – Stage 2
The system will then pre-populate a series of documents the client needs to review and accept before their onboarding can be completed. A feature I particularly liked was the ability to send these documents and client portal invitation via email directly from within DIGI. A unique link is initially generated and can be forwarded to the client. Following this, a separate email or TXT message with a unique PIN for accessing the portal and relevant documentation is sent. Once the client has reviewed the details entered by the adviser and accepted the key documentation, the adviser will receive an email notification of their acceptance. A potential shortcoming however is the inability to add joint clients to the system. When looking at a client’s assets and making recommendations it is important to understand the whole family’s circumstances, not only from an affordability perspective but also an intergenerational one.

Investment Overview

Portfolio View

The client portal offers most of the standard functionality you would expect (for example document storage, secure messaging, and the ability to see valuations and asset breakdowns) however, what I particularly liked is the user-friendly format that has been designed with the intention of making it easy for clients to get to grips with quickly. Something we would have liked to have seen as part of the overall advice journey is an integration with a risk profiling/suitability tool. From the client’s perspective this would mean that they could complete their ATR questionnaire during the onboarding process rather than having to access an additional system/tool. This would also streamline the process for the adviser firm, as it would remove the need to send the questionnaire and subsequently upload it separately.
Client Portal – Home Page
The secure messaging functionality is set out in a similar format to WhatsApp and can be used by both the adviser and client to send messages to each other. Even though clients and advisers can upload files to the document store, a feature I quite like is the ability to add and share documents using the messaging function as well. Even though this is a simple piece of functionality, this can help advisers and clients keep a full audit trail of their conversations and any documents shared.
Messaging – Home Page
Messaging – Within a Client Account
Both advisers and clients are alerted when new documents are uploaded to the client portal and can review and accept them from within the portal. Again, DIGI have designed their tool to help adviser firms increase their efficiencies and ease of servicing clients. Once a client has been set up on the platform and portal, advisers can then create a new proposal (recommendation). The adviser starts by choosing the account they wish to open, the portfolio they will be recommending, the amount being invested and any adviser fees applicable and the system will create and pre-populate a series of reports and relevant documentation (fund factsheets and KIIDs) that are required. During onboarding firms can choose to use their own template reports or ones provided by DIGI. Digital Wealth Systems have recently been working with Para-Sols to design and provide these template reports (which we have been told will be available towards the end of March 2021). Once a proposal has been completed and the reports and documents have been created, the adviser can share these with their client via the Portal. Firms are currently unable to amend and finalise reports from within DIGI, before they are sent to a client, having to download, review and upload them again creating a small delay in the overall process. The activity tab in the adviser platform provides a helpful summary of the progress and stage of existing cases so users can keep on top of on-going work.
Activity Tab

Reports View

DIGI has been built with the goal of helping firms keep on top of on-going work and will alert users when client reviews are coming up. During onboarding firms can set up different service levels that will be assigned to their clients. Depending on the service level assigned to a client the system will alert the firm of when their review is due removing the need for constant monitoring. Advisers can produce a review pack from within the system by simply selecting a date range in which they want the report and documentation to cover (for example last 12 months). DIGI will then create a set of review documents with the relevant information (including and not limited to performances, transaction history and asset breakdown) that can subsequently be shared with the client via the document store or messaging facility in the portal.

Whilst DIGI users can run a series of MI reports, to understand their client base, one thing we were unsure of was the ability to run a firm level CGT report rather than for an individual client. As part of any advice process Capital Gains Tax is hugely significant and even more so when recommending and reviewing investment portfolios. This would not be a huge fix as the functionality is already there, but one we feel would make a significant difference for the firm using the tool. Digital Wealth Systems charge a single fee, payable by the client, for all their services. For the DFM Service (provided by P1 investments), Tax Wrappers and Technology provided the charge is 0.35% (of assets under management). In addition, P1 Portfolio fees range from 0.08% to 0.82% (for the ethical portfolio). DIGI was built as an end-to-end platform with the objective of helping adviser firms recommend, process and review clients in a cost and time efficient manner.

Although still in its infancy having only been launched in November 2020 the system has a lot to offer adviser firms looking to keep their operating costs and time down when providing recommendations and reviews to their clients. With a few bits of added functionality and an increased list of software integrations and investment providers becoming available (again, something the Origo Integration Hub could help DIGI provide), there is no reason why this system may have much to offer adviser firms. In the meantime, if you are using P1 for your model portfolios there are obvious advantages to using it.

What I particularly liked
  • Designed to be simple and easy to use by both adviser firms and clients alike.
  • The modern user interface and experience.
  • Straight through processing for P1 portfolios.
Scope for improvement
  • Unfortunately, you are currently unable to add and process joint client cases.
  • Integrations with risk profiling tools, so that clients can complete questionnaires from within the portal during the onboarding process.
  • Advisers are currently able to run a series of MI reports including CGT reports at firm level however, this CGT report cannot be run at an individual client level. Something that would be hugely beneficial to an adviser firm.
  • Ability to amend and finalise reports from within the system, before they are sent to a client.

About The Author

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Adam joins FTRC from Willis Towers Watson where he spent four years as a paraplanner. Prior to this Adam worked at Succession Group, assisting their advisers in delivering product recommendations to the company’s private clients, and Vintage Financial Ltd, a medium sized London-based IFA firm. As a Research Consultant, leading the development of the AdviserSoftware.com site (publishers of FTRC) and maintaining the Adviser Software Insight report, Adam brings first hand experience as an administrator and paraplanner working for various firms using multiple systems. Outside of work, Adam enjoys spending time with his wife and baby, watching films and follows Manchester United Football Club.

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