Firing line 

'When I read the FCA's platform paper, I did a happy dance'

'When I read the FCA's platform paper, I did a happy dance'

Ray Tubman, chief executive of FinoComp, which develops software for the wealth management industry, believes he has the answer to the issues around replatforming. 

“FinoComp was started with the idea that the wealth management marketplace had some technology shortfalls,” he explains. 

“We’ve got a suite of really monolithic software systems in the market, and the implication of that is the software is very expensive. 

“It’s very expensive to test, it’s prone to defects, it’s a massive job when anybody wants to replatform because it’s a massive amount of functionality – taking it from ‘here’ and putting it onto ‘there’.” 

Both Aegon’s and Aviva’s respective replatforming problems have been well documented this year. It has been an incredibly frustrating few months for many advisers who have clients on the affected platforms.

Part of what Mr Tubman calls FinoComp’s “evangelistic approach” to developing software for platform providers is “seeing if you can replace one component at a time” which, in turn, should be less disruptive for platform users.

Mr Tubman says he has drawn inspiration from much bigger technology companies, such as Netflix and Amazon, which use “micro service architecture”.

In layman’s terms, that simply means, “building items of functionality in single, small applications that do one job and do it very well”, he says. Mr Tubman suggests platforms should be able to “pick and choose” software from different providers.

It is fair to say, the replatforming issues have shed light on just how challenging a task it is to migrate customers from one platform to another. 

Asked whether the UK wealth management industry is mired in legacy technology, Mr Tubman replies: “There is worse technology in different sectors, but there’s better technology in different sectors. 

“But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we’re managing people’s money and there is a need for prudence in the industry.”

He says: “We think, fundamentally, that architecture and the way the software is built could actually derisk the whole replatforming exercise, and that’s really core to our belief.”

FinoComp was started in 2015 in Australia by Mr Tubman and his “old school friend” Peter Nicholson. “I think I probably parroted on about my concerns about the wealth management industry and we decided to get together and built some product to start with,” he recalls.

First foray

FinoComp is not Mr Tubman’s first foray into software for the wealth management industry by any means. He was one of the founders of GBST – also a software development company for the wealth management industry – which has its roots in Australia.

The company is probably best known for its ‘Composer’ solution, which is used by Aegon, among other companies, and which Mr Tubman headed up the development of in the late 1990s.