I have been writing about technology and its wily ways for a good few years now. Back in the day, maybe five or so years ago, loads of folk were launching stuff and there was always a new toy to play with. These days, not so much.
It seems to me that financial technology in this space in particular is stagnating a bit. That’s despite all the Shoreditch hipster #fintech nonsense, which is a bubble and will go away fairly soon once all the wannabes work out that they are not going to get bought for bajillions.
The stagnation might be explained by the fact that there don’t seem to be any easy builds any more. The news (which is breaking as I write) that Old Mutual Wealth is planning to spend £450m on its new platform implementation, which is slated for 2018, is a handy illustration of that point. If we assume that figure will shift (up, always up) in the next couple of years, we are looking at a system to buy, hold and sell assets that costs half a billion quid. Half a billion. That’s even more than the editor’s typical bar bill at the Money Management Awards.
Anyway, in light of all this I am particularly chuffed to have two new bits of kit to write about this month.
Two new versions
Voyant, the cashflow planning powerhouse, has launched a new web-only version of its adviser system called Voyant Adviser Go, which looks good. And 7IM has extended its much-admired 7IMagine reporting tool, adding a financial planning element called My Future. So let’s dive into both and have some fun.
Voyant first. Adviser Go is a web-only adjunct to the main Voyant Adviser system. It behaves itself nicely on tablets (and probably phones, but it’s hard to see anyone using it in front of a client on a 4 inch screen). Data syncs across both, so if you create a plan in Go then you will be able to see it in your full Voyant Adviser system back at the ranch.
The Go tool isn’t as functionally rich as the main Voyant system, but that means the developers have been able to make it more visual and (almost) fun to get the inputs in place for building the plan. That matters more than you might think – I am a huge fan of Voyant (and its rivals), but its flexibility and power inevitably means that you trade a bit of fun along the way. I still know many advisers who lack the confidence to use Voyant live in front of clients, preferring to print down cashflow graphs and go through them on hard copy, much to chief operating officer Bob Freeman’s frustration, I expect.
Go will help with that – it is easily flexible enough to create simple plans on the fly (assuming you have a decent internet connection; all of Go happens in the cloud) and I can easily imagine a vibrant and highly interactive client discussion with lots of playing around with scenarios. Once that’s done, it is relatively simple for the adviser to then create the fuller, more complex plan on the full Voyant Adviser system in his or her own time.