Capita and Vertex Financial Services have announced further changes intended to improve support for intermediary IT needs.
Capita has announced the first steps to bringing about its planned “Enabler” proposition with closer integration between its Quay Software back office and Webline quotes provider businesses.
In the first instance, the new integration should lead to significant savings - up to 60% estimated - on re-keying for those using both systems together, says David Carrie, Capita Enabler's chief operating officer.
“In terms of the bigger picture there are still barriers to using technology. This announcement goes some way to meeting these barriers,” he says.
Carrie adds the objectives of Enabler are best illustrated with what operating system and application software provider Microsoft has done with its Office suite of products. In this it has brought together different tools, while creating a similar look and feel that has boosted user efficiency, while enabling savings in areas such as training in how to use said applications.
“We see that as a direction to follow,” Carrie says.
Another part of the latest change announced is users of Quay will now get free access to Webline. However, there is no exclusivity built into the new level of integration.
Carrie says that would be “unrealistic” given Webline’s relationships with many other IT providers, including backoffice competition to Quay.
That view is likely to remain in the long term, as neither Quay nor Webline has the sort of IT market dominance that can enable deals locking in relationships on an exclusivity basis. This would also probably not suit the end users, Carrie says.
“IFAs are independent by name and by nature.”
Further developments involving Enabler are expected through the rest of the year, but Capita is not planning any “big splashes”, Carrie says.
Instead, its rollout is seen as a series of incremental steps, with Enabler identified as a project within Capita rather than as a specific product.
One of the companies with which Webline has a relationship is 1st Software, which as a business owned by Vertex, a United Utilities subsidiary, is also part of today’s news because of its parent’s announcement of a new business unit.
Vertex Life, Pensions & Distribution will be headed by managing director David Child - previously managing director of The Exchange, also previously acquired by Vertex - and will also be focused on developing more integrated solutions, including more straight through processing, except in this case for both provider and intermediary communities.
Child says the emergence of the new business unit is intended to streamline the ability of differnet constituents such as The Exchange and 1st to deliver new solutions to market.
It is about enabling a more common culture among the roughly 1,000 staff involved, and bringing together “best practices” from the previously seperate units - The Exchange, and Vertex Life & Pensions.
“There will be some changes in reporting lines at the senior level,” Child says, “but there will be no changes for clients in terms of who they sit down and face.”
The provider focus element of the new business unit should provide fertile ground in future. Child says more providers are looking to straight through processing and there are “more opportunities coming to market.” Vertex is being approached more often by the provider community on STP these days, he adds.
Wrap platforms is another area of interest, although Vertex is yet to make up its mind on exactly how to play this area, Child says.
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