Lower fees key to win tech contracts


By Jerome Doraisamy

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Lower fees are becoming increasingly important for financial planners in their choice of technology products, according to research from Investment Trends.

In its “May 2016 Planner Technology Report”, the researcher found that planners wanted to lower costs in their businesses in the face of a weak return environment, naming it the second most desired improvement from technology platforms in 2016.

Investment Trends head of research for wealth management Recep Peker said that providers should demonstrate value for money to be competitive in this environment.

“To do so, it is important to address planners’ key challenges relating to practice efficiency, while supporting them with their client engagement efforts,” he said.

“Among other things, the industry has the opportunity to redefine how client reporting and reviews are done in planning practices, with the traditional notion of ‘report’ changing in planners’ eyes.”

The demand for lower costs was evidenced by the relationships between planners and technology providers being more at risk than before, the report revealed.

The proportion of planners looking to use a new technology platform in the coming year is 23 per cent, up 6 per cent from last year.

Software relationships fared slightly better, but relationship stickiness was still slipping, with 19 per cent of planners looking elsewhere, up 4 per cent.

“One of the key challenges affecting providers in the current environment has been the increased mandatory expenditure on compliance,” Peker said.

“This means it’s especially important to be responsive to planners’ needs with the remaining development spend, and to provide training to increase the uptake of new enhancements.”

As a result, Investment Trends noted that providers must demonstrate planners’ and clients’ needs are being met, given the nexus between customer satisfaction and an intention to switch providers.

Investment Trends also reported on the most successful businesses and those with the highest level of user satisfaction.

AdviserLogic had the highest level of satisfaction among software providers, as well as the largest increase in satisfaction from 2015, due to its improvements in training, support and usability of its financial plans.

Speaking to financialobserver, AdviserLogic head of product development Daniel Gara said he was thrilled with the result, noting customer satisfaction had been a key focus for the business since inception.

“It’s about ensuring a combination approach with the interface: making it pleasant and easy to understand, and considering the user experience at all points,” he said.

Additionally, netwealth led the platform industry in terms of overall adviser satisfaction, which it has now held for four years in a row.

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