Midwinter rewrites planning software


By Krystine Lumanta

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Planning software provider Midwinter has deployed the first stage of its comprehensive financial planning software suite, Advice Operating System (Advice OS), which incorporates Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) requirements and client engagement features.

Midwinter managing director Julian Plummer said after two years in development, the company was rebranding under Advice OS but was staggering the release of the cloud-hosted application.

The first stage was now completed and was rolled out yesterday.

“What we’re looking to do is bring the functionality, the integration, the scalability and security of a fully-featured financial planning software into an off-the-shelf solution, so ready to go straight out of the box,” Plummer said.

“Midwinter is not just about generating advice anymore. Broadly speaking, we’re moving from generating of advice to the management of advice to the engagement of clients and then also the administration of clients.”

The first stage of the Advice OS release incorporates several components, including client management, FOFA, product, insurance, a client portal and client engagement.

The enterprise solution is suitable for large licensees and small practices.

“We’ve made a huge emphasis on client engagement in Advice OS,” Plummer said, adding clients had access to secure online calculators and optimisers.

“What we’re trying to do is enhance an adviser’s value proposition, allowing them to engage with their clients as much as possible.”

The second stage, expected to be released in June, will provide a scaled advice strategy.

The final stage will coincide with Midwinter’s roadshow in September and will provide the strategy package, portfolio review and further client engagement functionality.

Plummer said the business had very clear milestones to meet.

“We’ve finished stage one and that’s all set in concrete so we’re very much working towards stage two,” he said.

“To my knowledge this is the first complete rewrite of the financial planning system by a major financial planning software provider.”

In addition, Advice OS addressed the fee disclosure statement element of FOFA with an added compliance overview.

“In this system, nobody can change a date without it being recorded with a file note, so it will say that the date was changed and who did it, plus you can add a reason in there as well,” Midwinter financial planning executive director Andrew McClelland said.

“So we’ve added this compliance overlay from a financial planning point of view.”

The software will automatically create profile notes every time a change is made, which also covers opt-in and review dates.

In addition, it links its client portal calculators back to the advisers’ modelling software.
“We’re trying to change the nature of the advice process, so we think it’s quite a good engagement model for advisers to take into FOFA,” Plummer said.

“Advice OS is very much our future and you can see that the FOFA solution exists now.”

Midwinter will continue to support its existing software, Reasonable Basis, and its client management system, as there are instances where advisers need desktop solutions, particularly those in remote parts of Queensland and Western Australia.

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