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Adviser ratings of tech providers rise during pandemic

Adviser ratings of tech providers rise during pandemic
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Advisers’ ratings of technology providers improved last year, amid a "genuine appreciation of businesses that tried to go the extra mile" during the pandemic, according to NextWealth.

Analysis by the research and consultancy found adviser reviews of their technology providers improved across most of its criteria in the six months to October 2020, with cashflow modelling coming out particularly strong. 

The support provided by platforms and their integration with other technology also saw strong gains in their ratings by advisers, according to NextWealth.

Advisers’ platform ratings on willingness to recommend, support provided and integration with other tech increased by at least 0.10 points from March 2020.

Heather Hopkins, founder and managing director at NextWealth, said: “Most platforms responded really quickly to support advisers doing business remotely.

"I think there was a genuine appreciation of businesses that tried to go the extra mile to support anybody and platforms supporting financial advisers isn’t an exception to that.

“We saw big shifts in supporting remote working through digital submission of business and the ability to transact business online rather than relying on paper forms.

“Remote servicing was also picked up really quickly - very few platforms had much of a disruption in their service, which was remarkable.”

Nextwealth said 17 of 20 platforms now accept eSignatures, up from 9 in April 2020.

The consultancy named five platforms as digital process champions for requiring a form – whether scanned or with a wet signature – on fewer than 10 per cent of processes: AJ Bell Investcentre, Fidelity FundsNetwork, Fusion Wealth, Transact and True Potential.

Adviser scores of their tech providers

Tech solutionsWillingness to recommendValue for moneySupport providedIntegration with other techOverall score
Platform4.024.144.133.6915.98
Back office systems3.413.453.393.5513.80
Cashflow modelling4.214.214.173.6816.27
Client portal3.804.033.723.7115.26
Risk profiling3.913.973.813.5615.25

Source: NextWealth

Advisers' preferred platforms for placing new business were AJ Bell Investcentre, Aviva, FundsNetwork, Quilter (Old Mutual Wealth), Standard Life Wrap and Transact.

AJ Bell Investcentre and Transact also achieved the highest score (4.5 out of 5) for ‘willingness to recommend' to others of all the adviser tech providers rated.

AJ Bell Investcentre, Aviva and Fidelity FundsNetwork also scored well on value for money.

Across the four criteria, platforms ranked second after cashflow modelling tools, which received the highest overall score from advisers.

Advisers’ ratings of cashflow modelling tools on willingness to recommend, value for money, support provided and integration with other tech all increased by at least 0.10 points from March 2020.

Hopkins said: “In the six months previous, platforms had the highest overall score, and cashflow modelling overtook them in the most recent results.

“The other change that we saw was a big shift towards CashCalc, so lots of advisers starting to use CashCalc.

“Cashflow modelling became a really important tool that advisers relied even more on through the pandemic.”

She added: “It has an interactive interface that an adviser can share the screen with the client and show them how their income and retirement might vary if they were to take early retirement, or if they were to face redundancy.”

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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