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The future of customer experience

Another increasingly popular use of client-facing technology is cash flow planning. Two services spring to mind that are great examples of what can now be achieved. Firstly CashCalc has built what is proving to be an increasingly popular cash flow planning app for advisers.

The paid-for version is £40 a month for the first licence and an extra £20 a month for each additional user. Cleverly the company has made licences for paraplanners free. The service enables advisers to build concise client branded forecasts on any device and access the data anywhere.

Its objective has been to build something more streamlined than the complex cash flow you might get out of a Voyant or Prestwood system and many advisers have suggested the latter options are more complex than they require.

In the interest of fairness I should point out that both systems have their ardent supporters. It is just a matter of how simple or complex you want the analysis to be. The other service in this area I must mention is the stunning new mobile friendly cash flow planning being delivered by Focus Solutions. Beautifully optimised for tablet devices, it is great for using collaboratively with a client either side by side or in a co-browsing environment.

In addition to products from specialist technology suppliers it is also worth a look at what is on offer from life offices and platforms. In this domain the stellar offerings are limited. 7Imagine from Seven Investment Management is an impressive example of what you can do with a truly 'gamified interface', but I am not convinced the developer has done as much as it could regarding integration with adviser client management systems. When announced, Seven was emphatic that it would build such links, but I have not seen as many appearing as I had expected.

Old Mutual Wealth has its Appetite for Risk app, but that is not an offering I have ever been a fan of. This could be as much a function of Old Mutual’s general approach to providing technology to advisers, which essentially puts Old Mutual at the centre of your advice process and it will find its solution to meet your clients' need. I can see this working well if you want to be a restricted single tie adviser, but it conflicts with the principle of advisers being independent.

It is fair to observe that in its last consultation on platform due diligence the FCA highlighted the risk of advisers being unduly influenced by support technology for platforms. If a firm wants to keep all its options open and be genuinely impartial, unless it is happy to be a single tie adviser it should probably source its technology for risk profiling, cash flow modelling and client portal from an independent technology vendor. Actually, I do see a case for single tie advisers being able to deliver outstanding low-cost advice solutions, but that is a subject for another day.