Planners identify key software needs


By Krystine Lumanta

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Improvements in functionality, automation and processes have failed to lift financial planners’ satisfaction level with their planning software over the past three years, according to Investment Trends research.

The “May 2014 Planner Technology” report, released last month, revealed the average planner satisfaction score out of six was 3.5 in 2014, the same average recorded for 2013 and 2012.

“Even though planning software is becoming more efficient and software providers are delivering all these enhancements, planners’ average satisfaction with software providers has remained remarkably steady … over the past 11 years,” Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker said last week.

“There was a bit of a bump in 2006 [when the average score reached 3.8] when financial planners were happy with how the markets were going, but aside from that, it’s been quite steady for the industry.”

The report found 45 per cent of planners rated their main planning software as "good", while 29 per cent delivered an "average” rating. But only 12 per cent of planners responded that their main planning software was “very good”.

That demonstrated there was room for further improvements, Peker said.

“There are key areas we’ve identified as gaps when it comes to servicing planners,” he said.

“Generating comprehensive financial plans was definitely a big one.”

There was also a gap in enhancements for client reviews, as 65 per cent of advisers rated that as the key business area that could benefit from technology and automation.

The report also found financial planners had become much more efficient in servicing clients.

“Compared to 2006, planners are seeing 25 per cent more clients now due to efficiency gains,” Peker said.

“Despite that, almost all financial planners said technology providers can help them even more, with the key area being the micro, day-to-day client servicing and related elements.

“That said, there are many other areas they still want help in.”

The report was based on the responses of 1038 financial planners to a survey conducted in April and May.

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