Yesterday was our first technology showcase, Top Gear, and we saw 12 demos of stuff which looked great, even if running a day of live demos has left with me post-traumatic stress! There's such a disconnect today between relatively tired-looking platforms and the tools at their disposal to make the user experience smarter and richer.
Kicking off were DCisions demoing the clever Investor Bee powered by data from over 1 million customers, Financial Simplicity showing how customisable models can be applied to smaller clients and Digital Keystone putting our website to shame. They have done work for the Novia and Aegon platforms.
The next session illustrated putting financial planning at the heart of any process. Focus Solutions did a brilliant demo involving Apple TV, new Curo adviser software was introduced by Time4Advice (this Outlook-based system is worth a look, advisers)...and then we lost the internet connection. At just the point when I wanted to string one of the multiple venue nerds up by the cojones we were back and DT's Ben Goss did a sterling job, launching their new tools and App which looked great.
Origo and iPipeline then focussed attention on the increasing scope of platforms by discussing re-reg and insurance respectively. The standards are in place for your platform to offer automated re-reg and, often, better integration with adviser software systems. As for iPipeline, this group recently acquired Assureweb and amongst other things, should be bringing insurance into the world of wealth management platforms in the not too distant future. Makes sense.
The day ended with the "Pimp My Ride" session – Sammedia's Money Info presents a single financial view to clients and interestingly has been adopted by Alexander Forbes in the corporate space. Could this be a hook for the disengaged employee market? Touchstone shared some insights into how much insight groups can glean from data about what IFAs are doing, buying and charging (IFAs – this is a useful resource to check out what others in your area are doing), BrightTalk reinforced the power of video and webinars to present a buzzier, more current message and Finantix added some Italian flair to the day, showing us their apps which support a much more engaged relationship with clients. We concluded things with Navigant who worked with O2 on the mobile wallet – we're not far off a world where a provider will know where you are from your mobile and ping you a message to tell you that there is a discount on red shoes just one floor up in that store. Yikes!
Major take-outs for me from the day were the growing concept of "Do It With Me" investing – neither execution-only nor purely advised but that hybrid we are hearing that so many customers want. In out last D2C research, 28% of active private investors said they sometimes want advice, they sometimes don't. Apps, mobile technology, better tools, harnessing the power of social media – there's certainly the wherewithal to produce better-looking, more engaging platforms. As the platform market matures, as we see pressure from non-advised platforms with better consumer interfaces, and as platforms finish RDR preparations and start to be freed up to look at proposition enhancements, the future looks much better. If there's the money in a world of margin squeeze to pay for this.....Oh – and the other take-out? Never work with children, animals or live technology!
Have a good weekend all.
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Ascentric has predicted that the number of platforms in the market will fall from 30 to 20 over the next five years and only five of those remaining will be profitable by 2016.
Ascentric says the amount of new investment business placed on platforms will overtake new investments with life companies for the first time in early 2013.
Warren Tonkinson has been appointed global head of distribution for Skandia Investment Group and Old Mutual Asset Managers UK.
Formerly known as IM Wealth Services, Multrees Investor Services unveils new brand.
Multrees Investor Services (Multrees), the independent provider of designed administration, reporting and custody services to wealth managers, announces that it is to provide services to Alliance Bernstein, a global asset management firm, and Salisbury Partners, a multi-family office based in Mayfair, London.
Cofunds is piloting a graduate and school leaver apprenticeship scheme in order to bring new talent into the industry.
Aviva has selected wrap software provider FNZ to power its corporate platform, Money Marketing understands.
PLATFORMS Last month, Skandia unveiled its adviser charging pricing model, but how does it compare to what other platforms are offering?
COVER STORY Maria Merricks finds out how advisers intend to scan the product universe and remain independent post RDR.
CASHFLOW Avelo’s Chris Pitt explains the benefits cashflow modelling products can offer your clients and your business.
SOAPBOX David Cooke, partner at Saltus, explains the tools and options that create a good multi-asset portfolio.
PLATFORMS David White, head of FundsNetwork, discusses the costs to advisers and clients of uncertainty around platform remuneration and rebates.
The Skandia CEO says although the term restricted advice carries negative connotations, it could be the predominant model of advice in five years’ time.
The National Employment Savings Trust has taken its campaign to make saving popular to the streets of London and Manchester.
The Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA) has confirmed plans to draft an industry protocol on the use of restrictive covenants in adviser contracts.
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Geneva-based investment company Alix Capital has upgraded its global financial data management platform, FDM, to offer a more robust and speedier UCITS hedge funds data management and index calculation function to the market.
Financial planners could play a critical part in boosting cash flow into “social investments” which have a positive effect on society, a report has found.
Capita Financial Software (Capita) is set to unveil a new risk profiling tool it claims will “revolutionise” retirement and investment modelling.
Take up of structured products within the UK is disproportionately low compared with the US and Europe in part because of dogma within the adviser community, according to one investment analyst.
Nucleus has launched a series of workshops designed to help advisers understand what the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) will mean for them in practice.
Aegon is set to tell investors and analysts that it aims to double the percentage of sales it makes directly to customers (D2C) to about a third by 2015, according to reports.
National IFA Broadstone Pensions & Investments has teamed up with platform provider SEI to launch an in-house platform.
Old Mutual has been urged to sell Skandia Investment Solutions and told its profitability post-retail distribution review is under threat.
Fund and tax wrapper choice is the prime factor advisers consider when selecting a platform, research suggests.
SIPP provider James Hay Partnership has linked with True Potential to offer access to the James Hay iSIPP via the True Potential Wealth Platform.
Part of advisers' preperation for RDR and future success
As part of a regular series, Ian McKenna assesses the way Axa Wealth is positioning itself for regulatory change. (see right for his assessment of other firms).