28 May 2019 |

Flat-fee Infinity platform to cut management fees by 25%: Edelweiss’s Kapoor

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Edelweiss Private Wealth Management is looking to democratise high-quality advice as it unveils Infinity, its new digital flat-fee advisory solution and platform, according to Anshu Kapoor, Edelweiss’s head of private wealth management.

“Not accounting for any teams they may have internally to run their portfolios, on a like-to-like basis, Infinity immediately allows for a 25% drop on their portfolio management fees,” Kapoor told Asian Private Banker as Infinity launched today following a six-month product development period.

Designed with fee transparency and cost efficiency in mind, Infinity does not charge for transactions. Rather, clients pay a flat fee, allowing them to hold their entire portfolio on a single investment platform, across all asset classes, investment strategies, solutions, and products.

“Costs matter,” Kapoor said of Infinity, which was co-created with external vendors. “This is truly a first-of-its-kind subscription-lite model in India, where all of this happens at a fraction of the cost clients would have otherwise incurred in portfolio management.”

Infinity promises to assuage the pain point of potential individual biases by having a combination of Edelweiss’s systems, a global investment advisory committee, a portfolio management team, and the financial advisor — as opposed to only an individual financial advisor — manage a client’s investment strategy and portfolio.

“The financial advisor would be the core medium through which we understand what the client wants, and through which the client extracts investment policy statements,” Kapoor said, adding that the advisor’s role is expected to shift from a focus on engaging with products to engaging with the portfolio, as well as the overall risk-return objectives of the client’s investments.

“Financial advisors can do a lot more as they no longer have to focus on how each product is doing in their client portfolios, so their work efficiency should go up.”

The move towards greater alignment with clients’ investment objectives or strategies may be particularly pertinent in India, where investors’ wealth management needs tend to be addressed through product sales, resulting in a heavier emphasis on transaction-based models which can sometimes see costs “go out of hand” when private investors engage in buying and selling products themselves.

“There are two versions of the Infinity offering — one is a standard pure discretionary offering, the other is a non-discretionary option in which we allow a great degree of customisation by the client or the client’s family counsellors,” Kapoor revealed, adding that the rigour of such customisation accounts for important issues like taxation for different asset classes and entity types, as well as the cost impact for clients.

Through active monitoring and management, the Infinity platform runs filters and responds to both risks and opportunities by flagging potential opportunities and breaches based on the investment parameters of a client’s portfolio, enabling proactive management of risks relating to unfolding market events.

“To monitor and track their portfolios, clients have access to a mobile application which gives them the same view as that of their financial advisors, 24/7,” said Kapoor.

Infinity’s current rollout is geared towards Edelweiss’s high net worth customers, after which the wealth manager will consider expanding the offering to other customer segments.

“Onboarding a customer requires no more than seven signatures from the client,” Kapoor said. “We are able to onboard a client within 48-72 hours. Clients can move their existing portfolios to us and there is no limitation on the number of clients we can onboard. It’s a fairly scalable model.”

With the launch of Infinity, Edelweiss joins the echelons of Asian private wealth managers offering up-and-running digital flat-fee advisory solutions, including UBS, Credit Suisse, and most recently, Deutsche Bank Wealth Management with its rollout of dbXpert earlier this month.

“What we are trying to create is a platform that offers consistent advice, active monitoring and timely action on the portfolios, at reduced prices and fees,” Kapoor said. “The genesis of Infinity, as the name suggests, is to create unlimited opportunities for our clients.”

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