Platforms move to meet adviser needs


By Kristen Crawford

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Adviser platforms greatly enhanced their offerings over 2015 to cater to more complex adviser needs, according to Investment Trends.

The research house’s “December 2015 Platform Report”, released to its clients at the end of last year, is an in-depth study of the investment platforms used by Australian financial planners, addressing 506 key characteristics of each platform’s service offering.

Investment Trends senior analyst King Loong Choi said the study found platform providers' development efforts throughout 2015 were very focused on planners' needs.

“Common themes include enhancements to usability to help improve planner efficiency, and adviser support or communication to help advisers grow their business,” Loong Choi said.

"With the aim of improving adviser efficiency and providing greater transparency, the platform industry saw continued focus on enhancing and refreshing platform portals.

“North Online was the platform which made the greatest advances in functionality after it refreshed the entire platform with a modern, crisp and clean design.

“The navigation has been improved to be even more user-friendly and to allow the quick and easy movement between different tasks and different clients.”

Meanwhile, Hub24 was one of the “standouts” when it came to providing advisers with control over the information displayed on the adviser dashboard, he revealed.

“Customisable tiles or 'portlets' provide information on key business metrics to advisers and on areas of interest to their clients,” he said.

“Being able to demonstrate value to clients has always been important to planners, but this has grown even further in importance following recent regulatory changes.

“Platforms which help planners better demonstrate value to clients and improve client engagement levels have been gaining market share in recent years.”

Investment Trends said privately owned wealth management group netwealth was the highest-rated full-function investment platform in terms of overall functionality.

Netwealth joint managing director Matt Heine said he was pleased the group had been acknowledged for its platform’s features and functionality, as well as its adviser support and overall service.

“Based on our adviser feedback we have always had a clear focus on providing efficient and innovative solutions that are easy to use and help advisers better engage and service their clients,” Heine said.

“We continue to invest heavily into our technology and staff and we are committed to spotting industry and customer trends that matter and acting on them with skill and expertise.”

Colonial First State FirstWrap was the second highest-rating full-function platform, followed by Hub24, Asgard eWrap and MLC Wrap & Navigator.

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