AT8's Mark Loosmore reviews JCS' attempts to challenge IntelliFlo and Adviser Office with its Adviser Lifestyle and Professional products.
Last year JCS re-launched its software on an unsuspecting IFA market. In a very bold marketing campaign, a slightly annoying old fashioned Wing Commander called Fortescue jumped out from computer screens and other marketing material shouting “Jolly Clever Software!” (abbreviated to JCS for those who like me initially missed the link). While the advert may have irritated some it was certainly memorable and put JCS back in the consciousness of the IFA community.
I say the brand is back because JCS has actually had a long history in the UK. While it has never achieved the market penetration of Adviser Office from Avelo or Intelligent Office from IntelliFlo, it has been in business for 28 years and is run from the Channel Islands.
Last year’s re-launch represented more than just a rebrand and the technology was re-built from the ground up. JCS first re-launched its back-office system Adviser Essential and followed that with the launch of its Cashflow forecasting system Adviser Lifestyle. Since then it has launched a professional edition that includes a client portal capability that allows clients to interact with their advisers through a secure website.
Adviser Lifestyle has clearly taken aim at the market that has previously been the domain of Prestwood/Truth. It is a detailed system that can work at a very granular level, to analyse the future cash flows of clients. It contrasts quite starkly with Moneyscope, which we reviewed last week, in providing a more detailed, in depth approach both in regard to the data it captures and the analysis it undertakes.
What it gains, though, in the thoroughness of its approach it loses in usability and the elegance of output which is less graphical and finessed than from tools like Moneyscope and Voyant.
However, the power of Adviser Lifestyle is the seamless integration with the back-office system Adviser Professional. While data can be entered afresh into the cashflow system, the deep integration allows all data held in the back-office system to be brought straight through with no rekeying. It includes income and expenditure, existing investments and policies as well as key basic details. With this level of data available to be analysed it is little surprise that the system is designed to operate at the detail level.
All cashflows are categorised between income and expenditure and/or inflows and outflows. Income and expenditure are the inputs and outputs to the client’s financial wealth, whereas the inflows and outflows include the movements between financial assets. A pension contribution, for example, is not seen as expenditure but rather as an outflow from the cash account of the client to the pension account.
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Final report of the Asset Management Market Study