New technology will help cut fact find compliance costs by 50% over the next couple of years accordi...
New technology will help cut fact find compliance costs by 50% over the next couple of years according to financial services software developer DisClose-IT, which yesterday showed off its new product designed to work with so-called tablet PCs proposed for use by IFAs.
DisClose-IT director Mark Ayres says Fascia, the software, has been designed to facilitate the point-of-sale fact find process.
Cutting the costs associated with this process should aid IFAs who face margin pressure because of proposals for cheaper and simpler products coupled with the rising burden of compliance costs, he adds.
It will not solve all the industry's problems, such as legacy back office systems used by insurers, or the need to develop further industry standards such as Origo in order to facilitate straight through processing or links with government departments.
However, Ayres argues that as a first step, the fact Fascia would cost less than £50 per month per user to licence would make it an extremely attractive proposition for even smaller IFA firms looking to cut costs.
Paul Burgum, Microsoft's UK industry manager for manufacturing, says that his company is also working on a way to deliver products like Fascia on an application service provider basis.
That could enable one-man-bands to rent the software on a per-use basis, rather than paying an ongoing licence fee, which should reduce the cost further - although this solution may be a while in coming because of the need to proliferate high-speed wireless communications in the UK.
The lack of hardware, in this case tablet PCs, means DisClose-IT will not be in a position to fully launch the product until the next summer, but ramp-up trials are already beginning with at least a couple of larger IFA chains - Mark Ayres does not say who.
He says previous trials with tablet PCs have been well received by those IFAs taking part.
Tablet PCs were launched in London yesterday by Microsoft, which is selling a new Windows XP Tablet PC operating system, designed to support all its office business software.
Tablet PCs have been developed as a cross between laptops and A4-size notepads, allowing users to input data using pens instead of keyboards, which Microsoft says is more intuitive.
Hardware manufacturers such as Toshiba, Acer, HP-Compaq and Fujitsu-Siemens are already ramping up their production of tablet-PCs, with the first examples due in retail outlets before Christmas.
Nationwide yesterday announced it was performing trials to replace desktop PCs in its branches with tablet PCs that would enable its staff to roam branches to interact with customers rather than tying them down to particular desks.
The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.
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