Consulting services

Helping clients to set up, run and grow

Dunstan Thomas has been a technology service provider in the SIPP and platform market since 1996. Over these years it has built experiences and expertise to help clients not only build and deploy IT systems but has offered administration and consulting services to help clients set up, run, operate and grow their business.

  1. Consulting services for market entry
    - we help clients looking to set up and enter the market.
  2. Consulting and administration services for business as usual
    - we help existing operators run more effectively in the market.
  3. Consulting services for market consolidation and growth
    - we help clients acquire, consolidate and grow books of business.

Market entry

The SIPP market has been growing year on year since their inception. New entrants to the market continue to arrive either in the form of the classic SIPP provider operators, adviser platform propositions, group as well as auto-enrollment platforms and direct to consumer brands.

Consultancy for market entry provides support for clients entering the market for the first time, or clients looking to add new propositions to augment existing capabilities. The service addresses the following areas:

  1. What are the legal and regulatory steps necessary to becoming an approved provider, qualifying scheme, pension administrator and trustee?
  2. What operational expertise is required to handle all aspects of quotations / illustrations, daily administration, transfers (in and out), income drawdown, annuity purchase, death, regulatory reporting, annual review etc.? What qualifications are required, and what is the likely cost of the requisite expertise?
  3. What additional operational expertise is needed for servicing the corporate market (eg payroll deductions/interface etc)? Are there any specific aspects relevant to being a qualified provider for auto-enrolment?
  4. Which aspects can be conducted on an execution-only basis and which must be advised?
  5. What software packages are recommended and how much work is required to configure and integrate / interface with our own dealing and asset recording systems? What are the range of costs associated with implementing and licensing such software?
  6. What is the optimum ratio of customers to staff, assuming an advanced level of automation and internet access for customers?
  7. What are the ongoing compliance and audit requirements and costs?

Business as usual

As assets under administration continue to grow steadily, the SIPP and platform operator market is in a period of change with increased regulatory responsibilities. Operators need to be even more cost effective and efficient and delivering services to clients with business as usual is subject to intense transformation. The service addresses the following areas:

  1. How to administer comparatively small numbers at an acceptable cost?
  2. How to de-risk a complex SIPP environment and service?
  3. How to keep abreast of legislative and market changes?
  4. How to interface to existing investment management and other IT systems?
  5. How to maintain client service and control?

Market growth and consolidation

As the FCA looks set to continue its predecessor’s work by levelling its regulatory fire power at SIPP operators, 2013 will be the first year of significant SIPP operator consolidation. New Capital Adequacy requirements undoubtedly put smaller SIPP providers under financial pressure. This comes at a time when many SIPP operators are turning in poor financial year results having faced one off costs linked to tighter regulatory scrutiny that all started with the thematic review over two years ago. Tighter regulation has certainly created a big opportunity for larger SIPP operators. Smaller SIPP operators are taking a long hard look at how they prosper.

Consultancy for market growth and consolidation provides expert guidance to clients looking to grow their books of business. The consulting supports the process of due dilligence through to consolidation:

  1. Quality of pensions data discovery
    - Dunstan Thomas assists in providing data analysis in line with Department of Work and Pensions expectations for data accuracy and cleanliness.
  2. Process work-flow discovery
    - A process to help identify process bottlenecks and risk alongside suggestions to improve efficiency and quality to reduce cost and risk.
  3. Migration discovery
    - How easy it is to move data from one system to the next? Is this part of the risk mitigation strategy? Dunstan Thomas provides a full data schema and structures review to identify routes and options required for data migration or consolidation strategies.
  4. Merge strategy
    - Consideration should be given to the data between systems, the processes and infrastructure. Dunstan Thomas’ business and technical knowledge in this area will help to define an implementation plan for merging books of business into a single operation.