The Investment Conference, Harrogate, 20th June – A review

The sun was shining yesterday and a few members of the Elson team headed towards Harrogate to attend the Investment Conference hosted by Cofunds.

We kicked off the day by attending a discussion on the Future of Cofunds since the Merger, led by CEO of Cofunds himself, David Hobbs.

The Merger began in 2016 with Aegon buying Cofunds from Legal and General, the international pensions, life insurance and asset management company. David Hobbs, who has remained as acting CEO for Cofunds despite the Merger expressed during the conference that he was confident that they were on track with plans since they initiated the process.

He later spoke of the importance of technology and how they were looking to utilise Aegon to help move the Cofunds platform forwards, offering access to shares, trust investments and exchange traded funds to investors. David Hobbs added that more information on time scales for this vision would be confirmed in the upcoming months.

We later attended a discussion panel moderated by Richard Romer-Lee, MD of Square Mile. Other members of the panel included Campbell Fleming from Aberdeen, Nick Dixon from Aegon, Chris Hannant from PIMFA, David Hobbs from Cofunds, Brendan Llewellyn from Adviser Home and James Rainbow from Schroders. A great line-up to say the least.

Nick Dixon said he believed that a soft Brexit would be good for the economy, this comment was later agreed with by Neil Woodford himself who said that a soft Brexit would be positive for the UK. James Rainbow added that he felt the market had shrugged off uncertainty well so far.

So, what is in store for the future of platforms?

This was the last discussion we attended before lunchtime, led by Mark Till, Chief Distribution and Marketing Officer at Aegon. Mark Till said he believed that the cost of platforms would fall over time and Aegon were dedicated to helping advisors grow in order to provide a better user experience to all investors. He pointed towards a bright future for platforms with 88% of all fund investment for the first quarter having been made through platforms.

Upon being asked about how easy platforms will become in the future, he responded that Aegon were eager to lead the way into a better customer experience so that users would find it very easy to use the software, adopting a model somewhat like that of Amazon and their philosophy of end-to-end customer experience.

After this, it was time for a quick bite to eat before the much anticipated Q&A with Neil Woodford

The day was rounded off with a presentation by Nick Shenton, Fund Manager of the Artemis Income fund, on “The Search for Income”. A discussion on the impact of technology was raised and Nick Shenton elaborated by explaining that the fund is always looking to small web based start-ups to have on their portfolio. The reason for this being that many major firms don’t have scope to future proof, so the income fund will tend to steer clear of these and look for promising companies to include with its existing portfolio.

We had a great day at the Investment Conference in Harrogate and a huge thank you to Cofunds for their great organisation which was seamless, we are looking forward to attending next year!

As always, here at Elson Associates we are dedicated to providing you the best service for your investments and access to the latest industry information. If you have any questions regarding the conference or any other enquiry, then please do not hesitate to drop us an email on info@elsonassociates.com or call us on 0800 0961111.

- uploaded - 26 June 2017

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