Seccl launches fully automated drawdown pension

Seccl, the Octopus-owned embedded investment platform, has launched its own fully digital and entirely paperless drawdown SIPP.

The new drawdown functionality follows hot on the heels of Seccl’s accumulation SIPP – which went live towards the end of last year – and provides the growing number of advisers who use Seccl-powered platforms with a fast and flexible way of supporting their decumulation clients.

“While many platforms allow advisers to instruct drawdown digitally, behind the scenes they typically rely on internal workflows and manual processes to make it happen”, explains James Holmes, Seccl’s chief commercial officer, who led the development of the new SIPP functionality.

“As a result, the pension drawdown process still takes far longer than it should – and creates too much opportunity for manual error. It’s why we set about building what we think is the market’s first fully automated drawdown SIPP – one that removes all back-end manual processing and helps advisers to more quickly, easily and flexibly manage their clients’ drawdown journeys.”

The SIPP is typically offered to platform clients on a white-label basis, with Seccl – an HMRC-registered SIPP and ISA manager – providing the underlying custody and wrapper administration.

But the technology has been built in such a way that it can be used on a standalone basis by other custodians or SIPP scheme administrators – or fully embedded via API into any number of other applications elsewhere in the advice journey.

Instead of relying on third-party software providers, Seccl built the new drawdown pension in-house, on the same API-first principles as the rest of its infrastructure solutions.

“For full control and flexibility, we knew we had to build it ourselves”, Holmes continues. “We wrote our first lines of code at the end of January and placed it in the hands of our first customers at the beginning of June – all with zero downtime, thanks to our focus on continuous deployment.”

Seccl’s iterative engineering approach favours the frequent deployment of smaller functionality changes over larger, less frequent upgrades. Its developers now release new code four times a day, with the aim of daily double digit releases by the end of the year.

Ian McKenna, CEO and founder of Financial Technology Research Centre, commented:

“The platform market is at a pivotal point. For far too long, monolithic platforms have consistently failed to deliver the type of innovation advisers need. Seccl’s move is significant – although it does need advicetech firms like practice management systems, asset allocation and rebalancing tools providers to work with them, there are huge mutual benefits.

“Since RDR, advisers provide advice and do not need to sell other people’s products. Across the advice tech market, suppliers are mobilising to deliver the benefits advisers need to remain competitive in a world of increased margin pressure. It is stunning how many major institutions have not grasped this.

“Many of the largest platforms are writing their own obituaries through their obstinacy and arrogance. This is classic Darwinism; it will not be the largest or the most powerful who will survive but those who can best adapt to a changing environment.

“The advice community itself has been written off many times in the past, but has thrived due to its ability to adapt. New platform technology providers are demonstrating the same will be true in their market. Seccl is making a reality of what so many others have talked about for so long, the difference being Seccl is actually delivering.”

The drawdown SIPP is currently only available on an advised basis – and priced at 0.10%, up to a maximum of £120 per year.