Nucleus due diligence - take a closer look

    Platform due diligence continues to mature and evolve for advice firms, especially as we see regulation increase in the form of MiFID II, Prod rules and the FCA’s Investment platform market study.

    To help drive better outcomes for clients, the onus has been placed on adviser firms to evidence the suitability of their platforms, which can be a time-consuming and resource-heavy task. That's why we've created a range of support to help you, including an interactive platform due diligence report builder. Our range of support is designed to allow you to apply a consistent approach across all selected platforms. And importantly, it provides our responses to the recommended due diligence questions.

    Platform due diligence 

    This simple guide provides an overview of the importance of due diligence to adviser firms and how we meet the requirements of the regulators.

    Personalised platform due diligence report builder

    Our due diligence builder is an interactive tool which allows you to generate personalised due diligence reports on the questions you're most interested in for your client segments.

    The six key research areas

    Client proposition

    Business model

    Regulatory compliance

    Organisational resilience

    Technology and tools

    Service and support

    Client proposition

    Choosing a platform that can support you in delivering a tailored investment solution for your clients is vital.

    A comprehensive suite of tax wrappers and wide range of investment options is important to offer the right amount of flexibility, to help you manage your clients' portfolios without compromise. While pricing is important, adviser firms should look for value when it comes to a platform.

    Wrappers

    We offer a wide range of tax wrappers and investment accounts to provide a variety of solutions to meet your clients’ financial needs through all life-stages. Our range of accounts includes an Isa, Jisa, Pension, General account and Onshore and Offshore bonds.


    Investment range

    Our open architecture approach provides access to over 5,000 different investment choices. Funds can be easily added, subject to due diligence and our ability to administer them. We also offer access to over 50 discretionary fund managers (DFMs).

    In August 2020 we soft-launched IMX, our discretionary managed portfolio service (MPS). To find out more about IMX, please contact your regional business development director. 

    Client access

    Clients can access their portfolios via a mobile-responsive online platform called Nucleus Go, providing at-a-glance access to commonly-requested information such as money paid in, withdrawals, fund switches, holdings, gains and losses. In 2020 we introduced a number of new features, including the functionality for clients to authorise online ad-hoc fee payments by logging in to Go

    Charges

    We’re proud of our fair, sustainable and transparent pricing, with no hidden surprises or hidden charges. Both product consolidation and linked family accounts help to minimise client fees. The only additional charges are for Onshore and Offshore bonds and equity dealing through our trusted partners.

    Business model

    The platform's business model, financial position and culture are important considerations when carrying out due diligence.

    Taking a closer look at the balance sheet helps form a picture of the commitment to the market in the longer term, and future aspirations for investment in the platform and growth of the business. As a platform will be intrinsic to your strategic proposition, it should integrate seamlessly into your business which is where culture is an equally important consideration alongside profitability and financial strength.

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    Financial stability

    We achieved profitability in 2012 and have delivered a profit every year since. In 2018 we listed on the Alternative investment market (AIM).

    Sustainability of revenue streams

    We’re completely independent and don’t rely on other revenue streams to strengthen our balance sheet. Our revenue is driven entirely from our platform charges and we don’t generate any revenue from event-driven charges or interest generated from cash held on account.

    Cultural fit

    Nucleus users see our platform as an important strategic element in their overall client proposition which is a position we never take for granted. We're an adviser-led business and work with like-minded, progressive firms who share our ambitions and values and help to shape the direction of our business.

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    Regulatory compliance

    Prior to FCA PS13/1, the onus of evidencing platform regulatory compliance was on the platform itself. The onus is now on the adviser firm to make sure their platform complies with the relevant FCA rules and guidance, in particular those within Cobs.

    Advisers are faced with an ever-changing regulatory landscape, with Mifid II, GDPR, Prod rules and the senior managers' regime to name but a few changes in recent years. This makes it more important than ever to carry out regular due diligence on platforms to avoid finding themselves falling short of regulatory requirements, particularly if you work with a single platform for the majority of your client business. Advisory firms should not use a platform unless satisfied it complies with relevant FCA rules and guidance.

    Single platform use

    Our platform, with a wide range of account and investment options, including a pension account that allows both accumulation and decumulation options, is designed to be flexible enough for you to satisfy suitability requirements when it comes to single platform use for client segments. 

    Costs and charges

    Mifid II regulations came into effect in January 2018 and we have solutions for advisers and DFMs for product governance and client categorisation, costs and charges for both pre and post-sale and periodic reporting through quarterly statements.

    Prod rules

    We have clear target market definitions for our platform and each of the available wrappers, based on Experian consumer segments. We can support you in defining your client segments to make sure you're providing the most suitable proposition for your clients’ needs and lifestyle.

    Platform switching with no exit fees

    Our platform is built to be completely client-centric, with transparency at our core. Our simple, tiered charging structure is a good example of this. We don’t have any hidden charges or add any barriers to switching platforms, for example, exit fees.

    Organisational resilience

    With rapid advances in technology and a greater prevalence of cyber crime, it has never been more important to conduct regular reviews of your platform's ability to safeguard your client's data.

    A combination of robust technological solutions, watertight security policies and staff training and compliance with regulation are vital to ensure your clients are protected.

    Data protection / safeguarding client data

    The protection of client data and systems is our highest priority, that is why we've set high standards for the hosting of our platform. We take a due diligence approach to our data security, making sure we’ve covered all angles, both in terms of physical security and platform architecture.

    GDPR

    We’re fully GDPR compliant and have embraced the guidance put in place by the ICO to enhance data security. This includes delivering data protection training to each person who comes to work for us whether they’re permanent, temporary or contract staff.

    Business continuity

    Our business continuity plan is aligned to ISO 22301. Each department has a business continuity action plan and there's an overarching incident management plan. The platform is covered by a separate business continuity plan also aligned to ISO 22301.  

    Technology and tools

    When considering technology and while selecting or carrying out due diligence on a platform, looking at what exists currently isn't enough.

    It's important to find out the future plans for development of the platform, including how developments are prioritised or whether the platform will undergo any major infrastructure maintenance or 're-platforming'.

    At Nucleus, we have a multi-skilled team working on a mix of platform enhancements and in-house tools to help meet the changing needs of you and your clients.

    Technology

    Our platform is built in partnership with Bravura, meaning we can focus on developing a unique Nucleus front-end proposition, while benefiting from the capabilities of a large, scalable technology provider delivering custodian services.

    Development

    Our focus is on continually improving the platform to meet the requirements of ever-changing regulation and increasingly sophisticated financial planning needs. We successfully re-platformed to next-generation software in 2014 and upgraded twice since then.

    In 2020, we delivered a series of platform enhancements, including our new phased investing solution, a faster and paperless ad-hoc fee process and improved bulk model portfolio reassign and rebalance. Please visit our platform release 19 web page for more information.

    Functionality and tools

    We harness rich data on the platform to develop a range of tools and features to simplify processes and help drive greater efficiency. These tools include the ability to create bespoke model portfolios, set up rebalancing and carry out bulk switching of investments.

    Reporting

    We also have an award-winning client reporting tool called Narrate, which harnesses the rich data set of the Nucleus platform to deliver an intuitive, interactive, customisable set of reports to share with your clients. You can also access our capital gains tool, Narrate CG.

    Service and support

    Service and support should go beyond the day-to-day help you and your clients should expect as standard, it should also include a more holistic approach to practice development and technical support to help you create better client outcomes and grow your business.

    Customer service

    Working with Nucleus means knowing us personally. We take pride in our genuine, people-focused service, which is reflected in the core team that will work with you along every step of the way.

    Technical support

    You’ll have access to support from our dedicated team of product technical experts, as well as access to Techlink for more complex cases. Users of the Nucleus platform have access to technical support, regardless of the size of your assets under management.

    Practice management

    When you work with us you’re joining a community of like-minded advisers who meet regularly to share best practice on industry issues. You’ll have access to CPD accredited events, a daily blog curated by us and authored by industry experts, and an online technical studio.

    How can we help?

    Getting in touch with us couldn't be easier

    Are you interested in becoming a Nucleus user? Then simply click on the button below and contact one of our Regional business development directors who'll be delighted to help. If you're an existing user, just hit the button below and download your regional contact sheet.