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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 is 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 due diligence 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 reporting tool is interactive and lets you generate a personalised and downloadable report 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 6,000 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), including IMX, our own managed portfolio service.

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 April 2022, we launched an iOS version of Go, available for download from the Apple App Store. For the moment this will only be available on Apple devices, but we're working on developing an Android equivalent in future. 

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.

We're part of the James Hay Holdings Group and our board is 100% committed to continue growing our business in the UK.

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 mainly from platform charges and we don’t generate any revenue from event-driven charges.

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 chosen 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. 

Mifid II

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 to include 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.

Investment platform market study

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 chosen 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 security and operational resilience

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. 

Security of client assets

We have robust systems and processes in place to protect client assets at all times.
Our platform also has rigorous processes against fraud, and staff are trained on a
regular basis. Client money and assets are protected under a combination of the FCA's
CASS rules, pension rules and the arrangements operated by our bond products. For more
information on how we protect client money and assets, take a look at our detailed
answers on the due diligence reporting tool.

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.

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 our 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.

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 have continued to implement software releases since 2017.

In recent years, we’ve delivered a range of platform enhancements including a Junior Isa, our successful client portal, Nucleus Go, automated phased drawdown, trade-on-trade, enhanced bulk switching and automated phased investing.

Our roadmap for 2022 is focused on:

  • Improving client experience, including paper reduction and robust security through Nucleus Go enhancements
  • Increased flexibility through enhancements like Flexible Isa and drawdown pot splitting
  • Scaling our capacity through new cloud-based infrastructure solutions
  • Delivering regulatory change

Find out more on our platform developments page.

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. In 2020, we purchased the part of Openwealth that delivered our back office services, resulting in an end-to-end operational proposition.

Technical support

You’ll have access to support from our dedicated team of product technical experts, as well as access to our Technical Hub.

In a time when changes to legislation are frequent and increasingly complex, we appreciate the demands on advisers to interpret legislative change and assess the impact on clients. Providing accurate information – often at short notice – can make the difference when developing long-term successful client relationships. Our Technical Hub provides detailed technical information, whenever you need it.

Practice management

When you work with Nucleus 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 and an online technical studio.