4th: Investment in technology boosts processing for Openwork


This year sees Openwork slip down one place from last year’s third spot, masking a big increase in gross sales. Philip Martin, proposition and marketing director, said this was in a large part due to being able to get back to work after adjusting to RDR.

He said: “We are now 18 months on from the introduction of RDR and advisers have got to grips with their service proposition to customers. That in itself, of course, has given them the confidence to do more business.”

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Mr Martin said: “The other major driver of the increase in gross sales was our investment in technology. We have constructed our own submission system which has meant processing is much easier for advisers.”

The last Budget’s announcement loosening restrictions on pensions was welcome, he said, “because it removes the biggest single objection we have had from clients to saving for retirement, that they can’t gain access to their money.” However, the downside Openwork experienced was a dramatic fall in annuity sales as advisers and their clients deciding to do nothing with regard to pension decisions until the new regime is detailed next April.

Although it does not impact upon the gross sales figures for this survey, the biggest development internally is the acquisition of 930 protection advisers from Met Life, who are being integrated into the business. Mr Stevens said: “This takes Openwork to an adviser total of around 3,000. The other major event has been the expansion of the Omnis range of investments, launching seven new funds last April. We now have £850m assets under management.”