The platform is designed to respond to the raft of regulatory changes being implemented internationally, as many countries turn away from an opaque, high commission landscape, towards cleaner products and greater oversight on advisory practices.
During an exclusive interview with International Adviser, Novia Global chief executive Bill Vasilieff said the “sudden rush” of countries implementing RDR-like regulation will help open up the market, increasing the demand for transparent wealth management systems.
He expects Novia Global to plug the gap in the international expat market for a “truly transparent” online platform.
The platform will initially support individuals and trusts based in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and Switzerland. Over coming weeks it will be passported across Europe and into other jurisdictions as it looks to quickly expand its geographical presence.
Cutting the grunt work
According to Vasilieff, Novia Global will be the first multi-currency platform in the world to offer straight-through processing, making advisers’ jobs more efficient by cutting out the grunt work.
Initially the platform will offer access to five currencies, including sterling, euros, US dollars, Hong Kong dollars and Swiss francs, and more than 1,000 funds, with the availability of assets varying depending on the jurisdiction.
Vasilieff said, to a large extent, part of the learning curve is yet to come: “If you are entering into a new market – and Novia Global is to be distributed across lots of markets – then you never quite know the local culture until you’re in there.”
“The challenge, I think, will be around advisers changing their business models to adopt the platform, which can take a bit of time,” he said. “The difficult part for them is making that transition.”
Vasilieff said there has been an astonishing level of demand for the platform already, with many advisers keen to move away from the clunky world of faxes and post.
“Essentially the platform provides lots of tools and assistance to the adviser,” he said. “If advisers adopt the model properly – and I would say the minority of UK advisers still don’t get the maximum out of their platforms – businesses can cut out a lot of back-office costs.”
Novia Global will offer a suite of portfolio modelling, construction and reporting tools, as well as a global investment account and retirement account for recognised overseas pension schemes.
The new offering will offer clients access to offshore funds, exchange-traded funds (with aggregated trading), and structured products with direct equities. Over coming months it will also offer an offshore bond.
A choice of remuneration options will also be available to suit the adviser and trustee’s business models.
The new platform’s 24-hour trading system is supported by Australian technology business GBST Wealth Management, which is essentially the core engine behind the investment administration system.
This continues a long-standing relationship between the two businesses, which have been working together on Novia’s UK platform since it launched.
Speaking to International Adviser, chief executive of GBST Robert De Dominicis said: “We have been looking for an opportunity like this for quite some time so it’s fantastic to be a part of it.
“The platform is unique in that it breaks into the expat market, which it’s fair to say is quite a liquid market in terms of investment opportunity.”
Through the platform’s facilities, the end-consumers can view their investments and communicate with their financial adviser online.
The platform is subject to regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority.
In June, Novia Global announced the appointment of its distribution boss Chris Skelhorn.