Case Study: Investment Management Platform

Dennis Hall

Yellowtail Financial Planning

Dennis Hall

  • Dennis Hall founded Yellowtail Financial Planning in 2006 and started using the Raymond James platform in 2007.
  • The firm’s services include financial planning, investment solutions,
  • family wealth and estate and tax planning.
  • Their focus is on servicing 7-figure families, those with £1m – £10m of investable assets.

Why we chose the Raymond James Investment Management Platform

We didn’t want to be restricted by a narrow list of investments, so Raymond James’ open architecture approach with its broad wrapper and investment range was really important. As Raymond James are a B2B platform whose core proposition is supporting wealth management firms, rather than running its own funds or servicing clients directly, this negated a potential conflict of interest. At the time, most other platforms were bundling charges and we did not like the lack of transparency. Raymond James has a competitive fee structure and transparency of the fees so clients could easily understand what they were paying for.

One of our core values, is integrity. We got the strongest sense of a match of integrity when talking to the people at Raymond James. A platform comparison tool can help you measure figures and facts, but there had to be a cultural fit between us and that is something you can only judge after meeting the people.

Getting Started

We had a lot of support and hand-holding from the team at Raymond James and I could not have asked for any more. That said, the reality is that transferring from one platform to another is like going through a divorce and it’s never going to be easy. However, I don’t regret it and my advice to any firm is that you should do it as early as you can in your business, particularly if you want to grow. Otherwise, you will limp along with an unhappy platform relationship, not getting what you want and making compromises.

What we get from our partnership with Raymond James

Raymond James has built the functionality but it’s up to us, the individual firms, to shape it into what we want, based on our investment proposition.  We’ve engaged with Raymond James as and when we needed to.

At the end of the day, price is important and I haven’t found a platform that is more competitive. That’s a big win for me because there is no one else out there that we would want to use that provides the functionality that we want. The pricing structure has always been clear and transparent, to the point that it has historically been difficult explaining it to clients who were not accustomed to seeing such transparency of charges from other platforms. If you were able to itemise all the fees of a competitor, clients would start to see where all their money goes. So it’s been an education process – you need to be prepared to sit down with clients to help them understand your philosophies and understand why you’re doing what you’re doing – only then does it make complete  sense.

We use Raymond James primarily as a tool and administration function to allow us to run our business more effectively. My personal focus is on  marketing and bringing clients into the firm, but as Managing Director I have to have absolute confidence that Raymond James delivers what I need –
which I do. It’s definitely the professional end of the platform market.

A positive has been the continuity of people that we deal with, particularly the senior people in the business that have an influence over the direction of the platform. I’ve always felt that Raymond James is on our side – of course they have a business to run, and I have my own business to run, but we are heading in the same direction, with shared values and aligned interests.

Investor Account Protection is a topic that comes up frequently with clients, so having a financially sound custodian and strong parent company really puts people’s minds at rest. This has also been a great marketing story. Having a large firm like Raymond James Financial in the background really helps – clients may not have heard of them before, but boy, they are huge.

In Summary

From an emotional perspective, I want to make sure that I’m dealing with people that I’m comfortable with. I feel we’re aligned as businesses and we both have a desire to get the best out of the relationship. I’ve always felt that Raymond James will come to a ‘win-win’ situation with us, because we work in partnership. This comes down to people and how you work with them. That’s very different to some other platforms where you’re just a number and the attitude is “you take it as it is”. I have always felt that Raymond James is on our side.