Bryce Quirk

All advisers asked for is CFS to be “easy to do business with”, which proved to be a reflection point that has led to more investment in the FirstChoice and FirstWrap platforms.

CFS chief distribution officer Bryce Quirk tells Professional Planner this became a critical area of focus for the business.

“How do we make advisers lives easier when they do business with CFS?” Quirk asked rhetorically. “They just wanted us to be easy to do business with and there has been a concern through advisers either through underinvestment or decision-making within our business that we had become quite difficult to do business with.”

In terms of the specific feedback received, examples Quirk pointed to included forms that didn’t pre-populate, decisions around how information was validated, improvements needed to the adviser service fee requirement system, and general underinvestment in the platforms.

“That was the 18-month journey that we’ve been on and doing in conjunction with their feedback in an iterative way.”

Quirk says the $430 million funding boost has given them “a nimbler approach” due to it being a standalone business.

“That means we’ll be able to execute more quickly but more deeply into the requirements advisers have.”

The hard work has paid off so far as the CFS FirstChoice platform was ranked number one for overall satisfaction in the 2022 Wealth Insights Service Level Report.

“We’re really pleased at this juncture of our history getting these kinds of results from independent surveys,” Quirk says.

CFS has over 8,000 advisers that are registered and use both platforms. First choice holds $107 billion in funds under management and First Wrap has approximately $33 billion.

CFS will launch a new wrap platform in late 2022 which is also part of the investment strategy to build out the company over the next four years after private equity firm KKR completed its acquisition of the business last December.

“We’re going through the process at the moment of selecting technology to support the back end of the FirstChoice platform, but we’re also well on the way on our wrap transformation journey,” Quirk says.

Hot contest

The focus CFS has on its platforms business isn’t unique to the industry as BT has similarly squared its attention to its platform services despite rumours swirling of a potential sale of Panorama.