A 3,500-FA Network Revamps Its Fee-Based Platform
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

A 3,500-FA Network Revamps Its Fee-Based Platform

A broker-dealer network with 3,500 advisors is revamping its fee-based platform and preparing a UMA offering.

Tim Munsie, vice president of advisory platform strategy at National Planning Holdings, confirms that the El Segundo, California-based B-D network is updating the products, process, and pricing involved in NPH's flagship WealthONE fee-based advisory platform. And NPH UMAs are coming, too.

"In 2017, we will be introducing our UMA product," Munsie tells MFWire, adding that FAs affiliated with NPH's B-Ds (INVEST, ICA, NPC, and SII) who run their own models (through NPH's rep-as-PM "Advisory Solutions" program) will be able to combine them with outside strategists' offerings using the UMA product.

"We want to make sure that WealthONE is the industry-leading asset management platform," Munsie adds.

On the product side, NPH is adding two more third-party strategists to WealthOne's "Strategist Solutions" suite, after removing two others. The newly available strategists are BlackRock [profile] and American Funds/PMC [profile].

"We'll be at nine [strategists] and looking to grow that in the future," perhaps in 2017, Munsie says. "We want to remain at the forefront of the industry when it comes to product."

On the process side, Munsie says, helping advisors access product "in a way that's compliant and scalable" is critical. NPH's changes come as the industry braces for the impact of the DoL's controversial new fiduciary reg, which is scheduled to start taking effect in April 2017 but which some expect to be ditched by the incoming Trump administration.

"We will be introducing multiple processes for advisors to meet new regulatory requirements," Munsie says. "We're really redefining their fiduciary responsibilities."

"We're going to integrate goals-based planning" into the platform, Munsie adds.

And NPH's process updates are coming regardless of the ultimate fate of the DoL.

"A lot of what the DoL introduces, it reinforces the need for transparency and scalability ... and has really helped the industry as a whole get to that next level," Munsie says. "We want to take it a step further ... What's most important is empowering our advisors with the technology and tools to run a scalable practice that is also a compliant practice."

Munsie praises mutual fund shops and other asset managers for its reaction to the DoL reg.

"The mutual fund industry as a whole has really gotten on board with the transparency that will be required in a post-DoL world," Munsie says. "The leading fund shops are out in front of this and will continue to be great partners in the future."

In terms of advisory platform pricing, NPH is making multiple changes.

"We are in the process of repricing the entire WealthONE platform right now," Munsie says. "We lowered our admin fee across every single strategist on the platform [Strategist Solutions] ... We've also lowered the minimums across many of our strategists."

"We're repricing our Advisor Solutions ... to be not only one of the most competitive pricing structures in the industry but also one of the most transparent," Munsie adds. "That will be announced in early 2017."

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