Congratulations to Smith & Williamson who are celebrating the five year anniversary of their Managed Portfolio Service. You can find out more about Smith & Williamson’s MPS proposition via our Compare tool.

I recently attended their anniversary roundtable event and was joined by a number of financial advisers, journalists and industry experts to debate a range of topics based on adviser views gathered through a survey run in conjunction with DISCUS. We were grateful to those of you who kindly took part in the survey. Later this year Smith & Williamson will be publishing a more comprehensive paper on the findings and debate, although in this post I will share some of the highlights.

Intermediary business prospects

73% of advisers indicated that they were very optimistic about their business prospects for the next 12 months, while 53% expect to exit their business in more than 10 years’ time.

Advisers at the roundtable all agreed that pensions freedom regulation had increased requirements for financial advice both pre and at retirement, but crucially now the post retirement landscape is very different. Gone are the days of shaking hands with a client and waving goodbye over an annuity. A pension fund in drawdown needs to be carefully managed in order to generate the required level of income and in many cases, clients also want to pass some of their ‘pot’ onto future generations.

One of the challenges therefore is that with many of the current generation of financial advisers looking to exit their business, there is an increasing demand for financial advice – with a falling supply of advisers.


73% of advisers feel that they don’t have enough clarity on MiFID II to adequately prepare their business for the new rules coming into force in January 2018.

We could have spent all day debating this topic and not just simply looking at MiFID II, as recent posts have highlighted, there is a mass of regulation at the moment to wade through. However we spent some time debating the new reporting requirements for when a portfolio drops more than 10% and the role of the adviser, discretionary manager and the platform. Paul Boston from Novia raised the very valid point:

“This has only happened four times since the last war and one would hope that there are early warning systems in place to ensure action in advance rather than reporting a fall after the event.”


80% of respondents expect to increase or significantly increase their use of outsourced investment services over the next 12 months, but 27% felt that it was extremely difficult to compare these investments.

DISCUS was launched in response to this growing trend. The number of advisers choosing to use an outsourced investment proposition for their clients or segment of clients has continued to rise. Feedback from our readers indicates that the articles in our weekly newsletter, information on the  DISCUS website and the Compare tool can assist advisers in both understanding and researching the various propositions available. We are always grateful for any feedback particularly in relation to the available search criteria on the tool so do get in touch if there is anything you would like us to add.


60% of the survey respondents believe that their technology offering for clients is adequate, but 40% say it is not.

There was an interesting debate about the use of technology within an adviser business – should it assist with the delivery of advice, administration or provide client information? The attendees all agreed that client requirements are changing and that technology can support these, for example the provision of regular valuations through client portals or helping to streamline the investment process. However, the execution of this needs to vary based on different client segments and advisers shouldn’t simply focus only on the ‘millennials’ when deploying technology solutions for clients.

You can view some photos from the events here and more information about the Managed Portfolio Service from Smith & Williamson can be found on their dedicated page on the DISCUS website.


This post was created for the DISCUS website based on the recent Smith & Williamson 5th anniversary celebration and adviser research. You can find out more about their investment services here ›