Posted In: Wealth Management Administration
If your platform was connected to as many systems and digital tools as used by your key advisers, how much easier would it be to do business with you? asks Anthony Rafferty, Managing Director, Origo
Across all businesses and industries one of the major drags on efficiency is when an automated process is interrupted and requires manual intervention to take data from one stage to the next.
This is a problem that is prevalent in financial services, despite all the technology that has been developed over the past couple of decades. For financial advisers and their staff, they experience this on a daily basis as they seek to log-in, interrogate, pick and move, manipulate, present, print and email data across the variety of systems that they use.
It makes absolute sense that where automation exists, every key system a financial advice firm uses should be able to connect with the other, certainly in undertaking tasks like pre-population of data from fact-find to risk profiling tools to quotes/illustration to new business tracking to account opening – , to automated and regular valuations and transaction histories for client review packs. If this entire process could be automated, accuracy would be improved, clients would be better served, audits and compliance better enabled, costs reduced and opportunities to new business increased by 100% .
In this respect, integration between platforms, back-offices and other digital tools suppliers should be a no-brainer.
Many companies have been undertaking this to a greater or lesser extent over the past few years but typically and by necessity, until now, integrations have been made between individual company systems on a point-to-point basis.
This means that for every integration there has to be a new business case decision made on whether to commit the necessary resource, risk and expense required to integrate with that particular company – as well as to maintain the integration going forward.
Often this means firms delivering larger volumes of business to the integrator will be prioritised while smaller business partners or new entrants to the market, are way down the pecking order or are seen as not being a viable integration partner.
For adviser firms, an individual integration is great for that element of their business but their back-office is most likely linked to numerous digital tools and platforms – but, without all of them having the option to be integrated, the firm’s business efficiencies are limited.
An alternative approach would be a centralised integration service. This approach enables potential integration partners (including providers, platforms, digital tools, back-office systems, risk profilers) to connect once through the central hub, to then connect with all other systems on the hub.
How much easier would this approach be for platforms to set up just one integration link, for example valuations and bulk transaction history, to as many back-office partners, cash flow modellers and risk profilers as they can? For advisers and paraplanners, they could then receive valuations and transaction histories for all clients. This could mean improved automated client review packs, MiFID II reporting and better servicing all round.\
From a business perspective this hub-and-spoke approach to integration does away with the need for case-by-case decisions and resource restraints incumbent of the point-to-point integration method.
For platforms, back-office and software suppliers, linking to a hub incurs one set of integration costs instead of many, and significantly reduces resource and IT costs, which can be applied elsewhere in their business.
And for adviser firms, they are then rewarded with a platform that enables them to use software and digital tools that best suits their business while receiving automated data feeds that do not require their staff to re-enter or transfer data manually.
As a platform that is trying to make it easier for advisers to do business with you, we hope that this centralised approach to integration makes good business sense for all.