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Writing an Executive summary

An executive summary is a brief overview of the main report. It is designed to give the reader a quick insight of the content and give an essence of the main report. Its purpose is to consolidate the main points and should leave the reader understanding the core elements. They are used in business to allow decision makers to understand the content without having to read the longer main report.

Points to consider:

  • The executive summary should include the purpose of the report, an outline of the scope, the target audience, the main findings, conclusions and recommendations if relevant. It should only include the essential and most important information.
  • The Executive summary should follow the same order as the main report. It is ideal to write it after the main report has been completed, even though it comes at the beginning of the report.
  • The word count of the executive summary should be no more than 10% of the word count of the main report.
  • Do not introduce new information into the executive summary.
  • The executive summary should communicate separately to the main report.
  • It should not replace the introduction or the conclusion on the main report.
  • Use bullet points to organise data effectively. The use of bullet points or bulleted paragraphs is useful to break up the information and further synthesise the material.

The structure of an executive summary should include:

  • >The purpose of the report
  • >An outline of the scope of the report
  • >The audience of the report
  • >The procedure/methods of analysis
  • >The main results/findings
  • >Conclusion/s (based on the results)
  • >Any recommendations (if applicable)
  • >Any limitations to the report

Example

Executive Summary

>The aim of this report is to understand the use of platforms by financial advisers. This report will focus on how collectives can be held on a platform and will provide the technical knowledge required by advisers. This report has a high degree of technical content and is aimed solely for financial adviser use only.

>The report involved researching and analysing the functionality of the 2 main types of platforms. The report covers tax computations, cost analysis and comparison tables to emphasis the main features.

The report findings established as follows:

  • The report identified how platforms fall into 2 distinct categories: Fund supermarkets and Wrap platforms. Fund supermarkets offer access to Unit trusts and OEIC’s, namely for transaction and hosting purposes, whereas Wrap platforms offer a whole of market access to products.
  • The report draws attention to new regulation that requires all collectives on platforms to offer “clean prices” reducing AMC costs and introducing a separate platform fee. This is to avoid a conflict of interest, which mainly affects fund supermarkets due to their pricing structure.
  • Finally the report focuses on the implications and costs involved in transferring existing investments onto a platform. Capital gains tax may impact many investors if outside of a tax wrapper and ongoing fees must be justified.

The report concluded that Wrap platforms can offer a complete service, but tend to be small in size and may soon be consolidated by larger providers, whereas fund supermarkets can be used for transactional purposes. Platforms make the process to transfer clients onto the platform extremely efficient, however moving customers onto a platform can be a costly exercise. Advisers are recommended to conduct their own research and keep abreast of incoming regulatory changes concerning platforms. The report is unsuitable for retail customers as it focusses on how advisers can utilise platforms as part of the overall advice process, also it will not offer recommendations on whether an adviser should use a platform

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