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Boutique licensee shuns platforms

Boutique firm Moran Howlett Financial Planning has announced plans to launch a managed discretionary account (MDA) service, turning its back on traditional wrap platforms and SMSF admin tools.

Moran Howlett, which currently uses BT’s Asgard platform, Macquarie Wrap and SMSF software provider Class Super, will transition its $160 million funds under advice to the MDA solution to be provided by managedaccounts.com.au.

Moran Howlett principal adviser Paul Moran said he believes interest in managed accounts will accelerate over the next six to 12 months fuelled by a renewed focus on client service and a failure of major platform providers to deliver managed account capabilities.


“I’m not confident the big platforms will be able to deliver the right functionality because platforms try to be all things to all people and that naturally involves compromises,” Mr Moran said.

“managedaccounts.com.au weren’t trying to convince us that they would build the technology we needed.”

“That was a good thing because, in our experience, everyone promises stuff they can’t deliver and certainly not in a reasonable time frame. When they do finally deliver it’s never what you expected.”


Mr Moran said the MDA software will help the firm “go up another level” with efficiency and provide greater flexibility for their clients.

He added that the inability of platforms to incorporate term deposits and fully integrate managed funds and shares has meant his firm has had to manage more than 400 individual term deposits itself.

“Our clients automatically expect us to make those sorts of investment decisions on their behalf and they don’t understand why we have to keep asking them,” Mr Moran said.

“It’s our single biggest administration burden.”

David Heather, chief executive of managedaccounts.com.au, said the MDA provider was pleased to have been chosen by Moran Howlett.

“We are particularly pleased that our ability to create a solution specific to Moran Howlett’s requirements has been the key criteria in managedaccounts.com.au being selected,” he said.

The announcement follows a similar move by non-aligned licensee and fellow ifa Excellence Awards finalist GPS Wealth, with MD Grahame Evans telling ifa in February that traditional platforms and managed funds are "very expensive and inflexible" and heralding the rise of MDA structures. 

The rise of MDA structures will be a key topic of the upcoming Wraps, Platforms & Masterfunds Conference in the Hunter Valley: http://www.investordaily.com.au/masterfunds-conference