Frequently asked questions – Defaqto Engage

Recent Changes to Defaqto Engage


What are Service Ratings?

The Service Ratings in Defaqto Engage provide advisers with a simple and unbiased assessment of provider service. From the data gathered in our service satisfaction studies, providers are rated Gold, Silver or Bronze based on their overall satisfaction score. Any providers who do not qualify for these ratings are given ‘no rating’.

What product areas have Service Ratings?

Investment Bonds, Pensions, Platforms and Protection currently have Service Ratings. 

How do you create Service Ratings?

The Service Ratings are based on the results of the service satisfaction studies that we conduct annually among the financial adviser community to collate their views on the service they receive from product providers.

These service satisfaction studies use a representative sample (in terms of region and business type) of advisers who advise and deal in these areas.

In our service satisfaction surveys, respondents are asked to rate the importance of aspects of service that fall into specific categories (eg provider perceptions, new business administration, existing business administration, staff perceptions, etc) using a five-point scale from ‘not at all important’ through to ‘very important’. From this we calculate a mean score out of five to determine the perceived importance of each aspect of service.

Following this, respondents are then asked to rate their satisfaction with the service they receive from their preferred providers, again using a five-point scale from ‘very dissatisfied’ through to ‘very satisfied’ for each aspect of service.

After advisers have rated the service they receive, a combination of the ‘satisfied’ and ‘very satisfied’ responses gives a total satisfaction score, and from this we rate providers Gold, Silver, Bronze or not at all if they don’t qualify.

In Engage, you are able to filter on the overall Service Ratings or the individual service categories to look for a benchmark level of service, or include the information in a data compare or brochure compare, to evidence each provider’s Service Rating within your report.

 What are Defaqto Diamond Ratings and how has this methodology been applied to absolute return funds? How can this be used to research funds in Defaqto Engage?

Diamond Ratings will help you segment the funds available in each sector because they indicate, at a glance, where funds sit in the market based on both performance and a range of key qualitative attributes. The ratings are whole of market across the sectors they cover and combine a quantitative assessment of both performance and a number of additional data points, such as manager tenure, assets under management, costs and distribution.  

Absolute Return Diamond Ratings are now live in Defaqto Engage, and have been developed in response to the increase in popularity as a result of prolonged interest rates and pension reforms.

The investment strategies of absolute return funds are outcome-focused and principally defined by their objective of achieving positive returns net of fees, within a fixed time horizon. Unlike traditional funds, this objective is mostly independent of the funds' underlying investment strategy or asset mix.

The Diamond Ratings have taken account of the traditional fundamental measures of the fund manager’s skill, as well as factors specific to absolute return, such as battling average drawdown risk and performance during turbulent markets.

Within Defaqto Engage, Diamond Ratings are displayed in the summary tab of any fund grid, for any funds that have been Diamond Rated. There is also the functionality to sort the fund research grid by Diamond Rating, allowing you to group together the highest rated funds at the top of the grid. You can also reference a fund’s Diamond Rating within the fund data compare, which can then be added to the research report.

 The table for Income Drawdown has been removed. How can I complete my research?

Income drawdown and phased retirement are no longer available as standalone products. Rather than researching these as standalone products, you should begin your research using Personal Pension Plan or SIPP and use the appropriate filters to show products with a drawdown facility. Any filters that were available within the Income Drawdown and Phased Retirement tables are now available within the Personal Pension and SIPP tables.

How did you create the new Pension and Investment Bond Service Ratings?

The new Pension and Investment Bond Service Ratings in Defaqto Engage are based on the results of the service satisfaction studies that we conduct among the financial adviser community to collate their views on the service they receive from product providers. 

What impact have recent changes to Hedge Funds and Absolute Return funds had on my fund research?

In light of changes to pension regulation we anticipate an increased interest in Absolute Return funds. To help make things clearer, we have renamed the Hedge Fund asset class as Absolute Return (as this is where the Absolute Return funds can be found). As a result of this change, any existing funds that have been previously classified as Hedge Funds but are not Absolute Return funds will in future be classified as ‘Other’.  Please note that when constructing a Target Asset Allocation, Hedge Funds will no longer appear in the list of available Asset Classes; they have been replaced by Absolute Return. Funds identified as having an Absolute Return strategy will now have an asset allocation of 100% Absolute Return. The future volatility of these funds will now be slightly lower as they will be assessed by their strategy rather than their complex holdings. Funds with holdings in Hedge Funds will now be mapped to the ‘Other’ asset class as they do not represent a significant part of the market. Funds with holdings in Hedge Funds may show a higher future volatility figure but this will better represent their makeup. Any saved research will automatically update to show the new absolute return asset class, both in the portfolio builder and asset allocation pie charts.

How do I research Risk Targeted Fund Families?

We have recently added a new table to Defaqto Engage that allows you to research Risk Targeted Fund Families. These fund families explicitly target risk in their objectives, with the risk target of each fund increasing across the family. They are multi-asset funds and almost always managed by the same team and they follow the same investment process across the family. 

This information is only available with the Research grid workflow in Defaqto Engage. To access the data, you must select Funds, and then Risk Targeted Families from the Research Area on the Defaqto Engage homepage. To launch the table, click on the Research (Browse data) icon. This will open a full grid in which you can carry out research including filtering, sorting and DNA Analysis. You are also able to create and export comparison tables and risk graphs. 

Getting started

Which internet browsers do I need to run Defaqto Engage?

Defaqto Engage will run on any internet browser. However, we only support and develop on Internet Explorer versions 9,10, 11 and Edge. Defaqto Engage also works on the latest versions of  Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. It is recommended that you launch the application in one of the supported browsers.

As these browsers are fully supported, our Customer Support team will look to resolve any reported issues.

What should I set my screen resolution to?

Defaqto Engage is best viewed when your screen resolution is set at:

  • Small screen/projector - 1024x768
  • Regular monitor - 1280x1024
  • Laptop/widescreen - 1360x768

What is the web address of Defaqto Engage?

To access Defaqto Engage, go to

How do I book onto training?

To book onto training, visit our training pages at

Logging in and launching Defaqto Engage

How do I log in to

Visit Select the Sign In button and enter your email address and password. Then select Submit.

I have forgotten my password. How do I reset it?

Click on the forgotten password link. You will then be taken to a new screen, where you can enter your email address and select Submit. You will then receive an email from containing a link which will allow you to reset your password.

If you do not receive this email, please check your junk folder. After clicking on the link, you will be taken to a page that will allow you to reset your password. All passwords must have a minimum of six characters.

Once your password has been entered and verified, click Set Password to sign in as normal to Defaqto Engage.

I have signed in correctly, how do I launch Defaqto Engage?

Once you have successfully logged in, your name will appear at the top of the screen. You will also see an Engage button. Clicking on this button will load the homepage of the application.

What will I do if an error message appears?

If you attempt to launch Defaqto Engage and you receive a message regarding the account being locked or invalid details, please contact Defaqto Customer Support on 01844 295544 or and we will be able to assist you.

Using Defaqto Engage

I can’t seem to use Client Research or Research as the icons are greyed out - what do I do?

The Client Research and Research icons will remain greyed out until you select a Product/Platform/Fund/DFM from the Research area of the homepage. Once selected, the Client Research and Research’ icons will become activated.

Under my Research area, only certain areas have an arrow appearing next to them. Does this mean that I can only access the areas with an arrow showing?

All users will be able to access all Product, Platform and Fund types from the Research Area. The arrow signifies that a hierarchy is available on that area. So if you were to select Investments, you will be given further options as to which Investment product you would like to research. You can then select your chosen product type whether that is an Investment Bond, Structured Product or ISA etc.

The reason no arrow appears next to Platforms or DFMs is that there is no further level you need to delve down to, as you are at the level you need to select.

How long will my Saved Research remain in the system for?

Saved research will only be available for 90 days. If your saved research remains inactive for the duration of the 90-day limit, it will no longer be available. If you would like to keep the saved research longer than 90 days, you will need to ensure that you keep reusing it. By reopening your saved research, it will remain on Engage for a further 90 days from the date it was reopened.

As you can see in the below screen shot, there is a warning advising the user that ‘Saved activity will be available for 90 days’ at the point at which the research is saved.

What happens if I do not save my research?

Defaqto Engage will automatically save the past eight unsaved research cases a user has been working on. These can be found on the Recent tab located on the homepage.

A number of providers appear to be missing from my initial list of ISAs - how do I access them?

When you initially access ISAs, the default setting is to only show ISAs that are linked to Platforms. If you wish to view ISAs that are not linked to Platforms, you need to switch Platform access off.

How do I apply a template that I have created?

Within Client Research, the filters area will load automatically once you have entered your client details. For Research, you must select the Filters icon from the ribbon. To apply a template, simply open the Template dropdown bar at the top of the filter screen and select the required template.

This will automatically select the features you have selected, along with the filters that you have set. If your template has been set as default, it will automatically load when you open the filters area for that product type.

Can I check which products are being excluded by filtering?

Yes. Within the Product list preview window, select the excluded tab to see which products have been removed by your filters so far. This view will change each and every time you add a filter.

The product or platform I am looking at has no AKG Financial Strength. Why is this?

AKG publish three financial strength report series or ‘peer groups’. Each of these peer groups use different criteria and weightings to arrive at a financial strength rating. These are; UK (this rates life offices and non-life office SIPP providers), Platform (rates operators who offer platforms, not the wrapper itself) and Offshore (this rates providers offering offshore products).

Some wrappers have been launched by platform providers. These can only be accessed when also subscribing to the platform.

Where the platform also has a life office, typically the life office are the legal entity providing the wrapper. In this case, the UK rating for the life office will be assigned to the wrapper.

In some cases, the legal entity providing the platform also provides the product wrapper available exclusively on it. You cannot use the platform AKG rating to judge the financial strength of the company offering the wrapper. The platform needs to be considered alongside Life companies and Friendly Societies and a UK rating is applied using the criteria and weightings in this peer group.

AKG now rate the legal entities currently offering platforms within their UK rating and as a result Defaqto will be assigning this UK rating to the product wrappers that are offered by these legal entities that were originally only assigned a platform rating.

Can I add a product in if it doesn’t appear in my final selection?

Yes. After you have completed your filtering, click Excluded from the ribbon. You can then select a product from the list of excluded products. If you have already applied DNA analysis to your shortlist, the product you add in will rank alongside the shortlisted products according to the DNA score.

The fund I am looking for is missing - how do I find it?

When looking for funds through a tax wrapper or platform, Defaqto Engage will default the fund type depending on the research area you have come from. For example, when researching a Personal Pension, the system will default to show all of the Pension funds. If you do enter the fund area and see that no funds are available, you may need to adjust your fund type.

This can be amended via the Fund Type dropdown bar in the ribbon. Examples of this are the Skandia SIS Bond and the AEGON Personal Pension that invest in Unit Trust/OEIC funds as opposed to the traditional Life and Pension funds.

Why am I seeing 3, 5 or 10 year performance figures, but there is only 1 year data in the performance graph?

The performance graph is based on actual fund performances, whereas some newer funds have synthetic data provided by the fund houses to give an indication of how the older share class performed.

Can I compare Clean and Dirty Share Classes in my research?

You are not able to view and compare Dirty share classes in the Client Research area of Engage. We recognise that the historical data on Clean Share classes is limited. You are able to view are compare dirty share classes in the Research (Browse data here) area of the system. From here, you are able to create a fund data compare and a performance graph that can be exported and included in your research report if required.

Some of the data held under the Funds section of Defaqto Engage looks wrong - why is this?

The fund data we hold relates to the unwrapped fund, as if you were accessing the fund directly. If you are accessing the fund from a Wrapper or a Platform, the charges information may be slightly different to what you will see in Defaqto Engage. All of the funds in the Client Research area of the system are Clean Share class, so the historical data is limited. You are able to access and compare data on Dirty Share classes in the Research area of Defaqto Engage.

Why can’t I find the fund I am looking for?

Our data is provided to us based on direct investment basis. For example, Invesco Perpetual and Standard Life MyFolio funds cannot be invested in directly – only through a wrapper or a platform. In order to see these funds, you must deselect available to adviser in the fund criteria overlay.

How do I graph funds?

Within the fund grid, you must first select up to 6 funds to graph. To do this, check the tick box to the left of the fund. Once this selection has been made, click on the Performance icon in the ribbon. This will create a fund performance graph. Once this has been generated, you will be able remove funds or benchmarks, amend the performance period, and add the graph to your research report.

The report is too long for my requirements. Can I omit some sections?

After selecting the Research Summary icon from the ribbon, you will see a summary of the outputs that have been included in your report. Any outputs that are not included will be greyed out.

After selecting the Research Report Content, you will then see a selection of check boxes relating to each of these output types. To remove any outputs and to ensure that they don’t appear in the report, simply uncheck the tick box next to the section you wish to remove. Any areas that remain ticked will feature in the final Research Report.

Alternatively, any amendments can be made by modifying the final Word Document.

How do I contact Defaqto Customer Support?

For any further queries relating to any of the above, or the application itself, please do not hesitate to contact Defaqto Customer Support on 01844 295544 or email

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