Midwinter expands team for robo rollout


By Sarah Kendell

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Midwinter has appointed a new head of distribution and will make further new hires in its service and support teams as the group prepares to roll out its robo-advice offering later in the first quarter of 2016.

Helen Thom, previously a senior business development manager for Midwinter, has been promoted to lead its distribution division, while Evan Polos and Robert Koorey have also been promoted internally as head of support and business development manager respectively.

Midwinter managing director Julian Plummer said Thom’s strong background in the advice sector, including previous roles at industry software provider Decimal and as financial planning manager for AMP and its Axa dealer group, was key to her promotion to the role.

“Helen has extensive expertise in the financial planning industry, with 15 years of experience under her belt and considerable management ability,” Plummer said.

“We are so excited to have her passionate enthusiasm leading the charge for what is shaping up to be a big year for us already.”

The group was also looking to recruit for further roles within its service and support teams, with financial planning experience rather than tech know-how being a priority, he told financialobserver.

“What we have found over the past years is it’s easier to teach tech to a new graduate – it’s the understanding of advice that’s hard,” he said.

“Whether they are on the distribution or technical side of our business, we ensure everyone on the team has a solid background in advice and I think that shines through in our software.”

He revealed the group was well on track for its first quarter deadline for the rollout of its robo-advice service, having completed a number of key project milestones late last year.

“We developed a toolkit which allows AFSLs (Australian financial services licensees) to identify cost savings during the portfolio rebalancing process, finalised the interface of our model portfolios and spent a lot of time looking at the cash allocation process,” he said.

“We want to be able to cater to any rebalancing needs the AFSL is considering and allow them to coordinate robo-advice activity across their whole network.”

More broadly, the group hoped to create an ecosystem of third-party programs that could be plugged into the Midwinter platform, similarly to accounting software such as Xero and MYOB, he said.

“The accounting software space is a bit ahead of planning, so we’re looking to replicate it and open up our API (application programming interface) to more partners to create more of an ecosystem that will give advisers a compelling proposition when looking at what we can provide,” he said.

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