By Pravin Jeyaraj Technology firm IFA Systems has launched an online factfind, which will allow IFA...
By Pravin Jeyaraj
Technology firm IFA Systems has launched an online factfind, which will allow IFA clients to provide information about themselves from their own computer.
The factfind is designed to be integrated into an intermediary's existing website, so that clients can provide all the relevant details without making time to meet with their adviser face to face.
To protect the data from being intercepted, it is stored on a secure server and the relevant intermediary is notified by email that there is new client data.
The email also contains a username and password so that intermediary can access the data, which can then be downloaded and integrated into the IFA's own administration system.
However, this functionality depends on whether or not the IFA's back office system is compatible with IFA Systems.
Diana Baker, partner at IFA Systems, said: "A lot of the data in a factfind is confidential so we had to come up with a method that reduced the risk of interception."
The first time a client fills in the factfind they are sent an email containing a username and password. This enables them to log on and alter their details as and when their circumstances change.
Baker said other features that could be bolted on to intermediaries' websites to add value are online calculators and generic financial information.
IFA Systems' online factfind can be set up for an initial fee of £375+VAT, with a monthly running charge of £50. Contact: IFA Systems on 01453 521 855, fax on 020 7544 7345 or email at [email protected] Alternatively, log on to the website at www.ifa-systems.co.uk, to see a demonstration of the system.
The launch follows a recent report by research agency Forrester which shows that many UK intermediaries will be forced to alter their business to compete with open finance.
Benjamin Ensor, an analyst for Forrester, said: "Open finance will be fronted by a new type of player that aggregates customer-account information and offers a comprehensive range of best-of-breed products. They threaten IFAs because as well as offering advice and best-of-breed product choice, they know their customers, actively offer advice, link recommendations directly to transactions and package dynamic solutions."
According to the report, the internet threatens at least six of the seven elements to the service offered by intermediaries. The first four, product information, choice, discounts and simplified process, have already become commodities online. Advice and long-term planning could be next. Only the reassurance brought by an individual advisor's intimacy with a customer's financial affairs cannot readily be automated.
Ensor said: "Most IFA firms are too small to compete in online financial services. They have the strong customer relationships but lack IT resources. Small scale and low brand awareness mean IFA firms must partner to compete for online customers."
Technology firm 1st Software is joining forces with Investment Week to offer intermediaries the chance to win a free software and services package worth £10,000.
The aim of the competition is to help the winning IFA to create a model office demonstrating the value of a defined technology strategy.
1st Software's contribution will be a year-long software and consultancy programme and it is looking for service-driven IFAs who believe technology is the key to successful client management and business profitability.
To enter submit a 500 word response detailing the advantages your business would gain from utilising technology in client servicing, office administration and new revenue opportunities.
The progress of the winner will then be monitored throughout next year by 1st Software and be the subject of a case study in Investment Week.
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