Your Industry  

Technology: Change from necessity, not invention

Our friends at Altus, the technical consultancy which offers one of the ‘gateways’ into the automated re-reg world, tell us that a successful platform-to-platform re-reg (albeit simple) was done in 15 minutes. Instead of weeks. That’s what tech can do when everyone stops mucking around and mucks in instead.

If altruism was one theme of 2014, introspection was another. We saw a big wave of platforms making fundamental changes to their underlying technology this year. In no particular order, and picking and choosing:

Article continues after advert

•Skandia – sorry – Old Mutual Wealth, signed a long deal with IFDS and Bluedoor to build the next generation of SIS (OMWIS?)

•Alliance Trust Savings plumped for GBST to upgrade its core systems

•Ascentric moved to Bravura Systems to replace its core BlueButton innards

•Nucleus upgraded to the latest iteration of Bravura’s platform tech – known as Sonata.

Of these, only Nucleus is live at the time of writing. Changing the core architecture of a platform is maybe the hardest thing you can do, and the most painful short of stepping on Lego with bare feet. Some battle-scarred faces at Nucleus bear testimony to that. It’s almost never the case that either the tech vendor or the platform operator are nasty people, or slapdash – but this stuff is really hard and even a smooth implementation can be rocky.

Delays on the line

We are hearing of some other projects being delayed at the moment. It’s incumbent on platforms doing this to make sure they are really open and honest with advisers; there’s no point being anything else.

So much for under-the-hood developments. This was really a year of finishing off RDR and PS13/1 changes for many providers in the platform space, so we saw relatively little in terms of new propositions. Respect, then, to Aegon, which launched a D2C service using its platform-enabled pension capabilities via GBST called Retiready. This was an interesting move and the execution was broadly good if a bit fussy (you’re not going to plan for retirement dressed like that, are you?).

Aegon also launched One Retirement off the same platform – a pensions-only platform (or ‘pension’), making it the king of thrift in terms of reusing tech. Expect to see more platforms and providers – from Prudential to lots of the Sipp providers – launching platform-style pensions which can enable the new retirement freedoms and also talk nicely to other technologies advisers may be using.

Round up...

And a couple of quickies to round us off. Client reporting was a big theme this year, and will be next year. From Sammedia’s MoneyInfo – now approaching ubiquity – through to Sprint Enterprise’s Fastrak (which enjoyed a 15 per cent investment from Transact), the idea that data aggregation from lots of places can lead to better, more engaging client reporting is a persuasive one. More please.