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Wrap Accounts

Wrap Accounts
Published:  25 Feb at 9 AM
A "Wrap Account" is a relatively new internet based investment account and financial services product which enables investors to view all their financial assets on one platform. Within a wrap-account (also known as 'a wrap', 'wraps' or 'wrapper account') the whole portfolio can be analysed and quantified according to money value, tax treatment, product type and asset allocation - the genuine wealth management facility. With a click of your mouse, you are able to deal online, consolidate all your investments and check your portfolio 24 hours a day from one central source.

A wrap account brings together all your investments - including shares, bonds, cash, investment trusts, unit trusts and pensions - under one roof. They can also bring together the various tax wrappers such as ISAs, PEPs and self-invested personal pensions, making completing your tax return a much easier task.

Wraps (wrap accounts) also allow investors to buy the funds of investment managers across the whole market. This means that, provided you choose a wrap that offers a personal pension, you can mix and match anything you like within that personal pension (subject to pension investment rules) rather than being limited to traditional pension products.

The Wrap-Account has been popular for some time in the United States of America and Australia but is only just starting to break into the mainstream financial market in the UK. In Australia, about 65 per cent of new funds are going into wraps. It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of funds will be held in wrap accounts by 2007. In the USA, wrap accounts have experienced a 40 per cent growth rate in assets year on year since 1996. Wrap accounts products are now receiving much attention in the rest of the English-speaking world.

A Wrap Account is sometimes referred to as a "Investment Universe", "master trust", "asset aggregation" and "hypermarket" and they are about to change the way we view our pensions and other investments in the future.

Some companies and providers have already launched Wrap Accounts in the UK and quite a few more are planning to launch wrap accounts in the UK over the next 12 to 18 months. While a number of these will be leading banks and insurers, it is expected that IFAs will play a leading role. An adviser can give investors access to their accounts, so that they can view an online asset valuation.

For one fee, wrap accounts combine the costs of investment advice and counselling, portfolio management, and brokerage commissions as well as all the individual administration charges normally levied by stockbrokers. The actual charge you pay depends on the provider chosen. It is therefore likely that these accounts are set to become a major force in the UK investment market.

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