9 May, London - As transfer agents and fund managers grapple with the new proposed rules for Consumer Duty, industry leaders have called for a fundamental shift toward greater standardisation across the sector.
Speaking at the first of its Transfer Agency: Horizons panels hosted by Link Fund Solutions, leaders from across the Transfer Agency sector came together to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the modern and future consumer investment landscape. Experts from Schroders, Columbia Threadneedle, M&G, Pru, Alpha FMC, as well as The Wisdom Council and TISA contributed to a wide-ranging discussion focusing on the customer.
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The cross-industry experts agreed that the key competitive difference is the fund management proposition itself and the customer interactions. Embracing the benefits of collaboration and standardised product structures enables the focus to be squarely on the end investment objectives and performance. At the same time, it also puts customer interaction and customer duty front and centre.
The industry leaders contend that greater standardisation must happen in conjunction with a real and substantive commitment to customer technology and data, transforming the way customers interact with their assets for the better. The pandemic has certainly accelerated trends; a ‘wet’ signature, for example, is no longer needed most of the time, now that digital authentication has become commonplace. Crucially, the pandemic also gave time for customers to adapt to the use of more digital platforms, allowing them to review their investments and tweak where necessary. These digital interactions, while ‘unseen’, are critical for developing and retaining customer relationships.
Karl Midl, Chief Executive Officer of Link Fund Solutions comments: “The experience and expectations of customers has transformed in recent years, and this has only been hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for greater reliance on digital solutions. More than ever, our clients need cutting edge technology, the best people and the most carefully managed processes to help track and manage who owns these assets and how they change hands.
“Across the whole transfer-agency ecosystem the work of the TAs should be all but invisible – experts who are working seamlessly in the background. The new Customer Duty is an opportunity for Transfer Agents to leverage their unique understanding of customer needs. By delivering additional and significant value to clients, and helping to ensure that customer engagement and outcomes are prioritised, Transfer Agents can play a pivotal role in gearing up for and securing the UK’s financial future.”