Midwinter scores fastest for scaled advice


By Julie May

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Financial planning software provider Midwinter has reported its users were the quickest to provide simple advice to new and existing clients, following the release of new figures from Investment Trends earlier this week.

Midwinter managing director Julian Plummer told financialobserver yesterday that according to the Investment Trends “May 2015 Planner Technology Report”, which assessed the technology needs of 892 advisers, the software provider ranked first for 18 out of 30 different service elements.

“One of the more interesting findings from this year’s report was that the average time taken by planners across the industry to provide simple advice to both new and existing clients actually increased from 2014,” Plummer said.

“In the context of the findings, Midwinter users [however] continued to shave time off scaled advice production for clients, [with] this our third straight year of being able to do this.”

In relation to new clients, Midwinter users took 3.2 hours on average to provide simple advice, which was lower than the average competitor time of 4.3 hours.

Meanwhile, for existing clients, Midwinter users took 1.9 hours on average to provide simple advice, also comparatively lower than the industry average time of 2.7 hours.

“We have been able to decrease time taken to produce advice by spending a lot of time listening to adviser feedback, and constantly streamlining our scaled advice processes,” Plummer said.

Because of the cloud-based nature of Midwinter’s AdviceOS software, the group was able to see in real time how long advisers and clients were in each module or calculator, and therefore to determine which components of the calculators were taking the longest to complete, he said.

Meanwhile, ahead of the launch of its digital interface for licensees looking to target the significant proportion of the retail consumer market that did not seek advice on an ongoing basis, if at all, Plummer said the group’s overall scaled advice offering was only getting stronger.

“The digital advice offering will further leverage off our existing scaled advice capabilities,” he said, emphasising that digital advice is more than just clients filling out online fact-finds and advisers providing online calculators.

“The real battleground here is going to be the creation and delivery of self-help scaled advice via digital devices, and the construction of other tools to ensure that the adviser is the centre of their client’s financial universe.”

Midwinter had a strong vision of how it believed digital advice should be designed, built and implemented, and client feedback had so far been overwhelmingly positive, he said.

According to Plummer, the fintech advice space offered a lot of opportunity.

“You are seeing the onset of cloud computing making advice generation more affordable, the ubiquity of digital devices, an increased mobile-only consumer segment, and the increasing self-confidence of clients to manage their own financial affairs,” he said.

Plummer emphasised the planning technology industry would look vastly different in five years’ time in comparison to today.

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