Speedier SoAs boosts planner satisfaction

Financial planners are more satisfied with their planning software than they have been for five years as technological improvements lead to speedier statement of advice (SoA) generation.

The Investment Trends 2013 Planner Technology Report found a slight increase in satisfaction from the 2012 report, driven by improvements in constructing portfolios, capturing fact-find information, helping select investments and producing client review reports.

“Planners are also happier with their planning software across every element measured compared to a decade ago, though the area with the smallest growth in satisfaction, ease of use, is also the main area that planners still say they want software providers to improve,” said Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker.

The average time taken to produce SoAs continues to decrease, the study found.

“Even with planners’ clients’ needs becoming more complex, and a greater compliance burden placed on planners’ shoulders, software providers have continued to shave precious minutes from the time it takes to produce the average SoA,” said Mr Peker.

“Planners now estimate it to take over an hour less to produce a SoA than it did six years ago.

“The greatest time savings are from editing and personalising the document, and calculations, modelling and projections.”

Midwinter managing director Julian Plummer told ifa the group has spent a great deal of time making it easier for the adviser to compare scenarios, construct portfolios and select appropriate investments for their clients.

“I think we can attribute the speed of generating SoAs using Midwinter’s software to us adopting to the financial planner’s way of seeing things, rather than just forcing ourselves on the planner,” he said.

“We try not to allow the IT infrastructure to dictate the direction we take, we aim for functionality that is instantly recognisable to a planner sitting down and using our software for the first time.”

Among the larger providers, Xplan increased its lead over Coin in terms of satisfaction, although Mr Peker said it would be interesting to see how this would be afffected by Rubik's acquisition of Coin.

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