Novia Global launches ‘Trustee Investment Governance Service’

Novia Global, the Bath, England-based international platform service, has unveiled what it’s calling a “Trustee Investment Governance Service” to help trust companies that are interested in professional assistance with respect to their investment policy statements, and which otherwise wish to review their arrangements with discretionary managers.

The new-to-market service, which Novia Global says is low-priced, is being offered in partnership with Elston Advisory, a UK-based, Financial Conduct Authority-authorised advisory firm that specialises in investment governance and advice to trust companies and charities.

The key features available through the new service will, Novia Global says, include:

• A full review of the current trust company’s investment governance framework, including its investment policy statement;
• Creating and help in implementing a risk profile questionnaire, for use by the trustees;
• Analysis and risk-rating of existing discretionary model portfolios;
• Based on the outcomes of a risk profile questionnaire, the provision of a selection of appropriate discretionary model portfolios for the trust company in question, for use by its beneficiaries.

The option of having ongoing annual reviews is also being made available to trust clients, Novia Global said.

It noted that the new Trustee Investment Governance Service is being provided on a restricted advice basis, and for this reason would not be suitable for those looking for a whole of market assessment and recommendation.

Novia Global chief executive Bill Vasilieff (pictured above), noted that the recent increase by wealth managers in the use of centralised investment propositions, coupled with “a rapid growth in the use of model portfolios”, meant that the new tool would be particularly useful for trustees looking to put together investment solutions for their clients that fully conformed with “the high regulatory standards for investment advice set in the UK”.

Henry Cobbe, chief financial officer of Elston Advisory, added: “Trustees have a duty of care around investments, and in many jurisdictions trustees have an obligation to take advice as regards the suitability of investments.

“The Trustee Investment Governance Service is designed to help them fulfil those obligations to a best practice standard.”

Trust-friendly platform ‘functionality’

The news of Novia Global’s new governance service for trust companies comes almost exactly a year after Novia Global unveiled a new platform ‘functionality’ it said it had developed exclusively for the international trusts industry in response to requests by trust industry practitioners, as well as coinciding with a time of significant change in the  trusts area.

Trust regulations in a number of jurisdictions, including Jersey, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand and Hong Kong, have been updated in recent years, and there has been a move, in the US in particular, towards what are called “directed trusts”, which place a greater emphasis on trustee involvement in the management of a trust’s liquid assets.

Pressure has also been brought to bear recently on the trust sector by governments, in response to media attention on the use of trusts, especially in certain jurisdictions, by wealthy individuals keen to avoid their tax obligations, notably in the wake of the so-called Panama Papers and Paradise Papers exposés.

Founded in 2009

Novia began in 2009, and its international operation, Novia Global, was launched in 2015. Vasilieff founded it after having been one of the co-founders in 2001 of Selestia, one of the market’s earliest financial platforms. Selestia subsequently acquired and was merged into Skandia’s platform operation by Old Mutual in 2006.

Among Novia Global’s competitive advantages over most of its UK wrap platform rivals are its multi-currency platform tools and product wrappers, company spokespeople say.

Although Novia Financial and its international business are both based in Bath, Novia’s in-house discretionary fund management business, Copia, opened an office on Brook Street in Mayfair last year.

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