FOFA drives adviser software changes
More than half of the financial planning software developments in 2012 were focused on Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) functionality.
Developers also focused on risk support and implementing legislative changes to tax rates, allowances and benefits, the Investment Trends Planning Software Benchmark Report found.
Opt-in management tools and guidelines are one of the most common areas in which planners say they want support from their platform and software providers, said Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker.
Of the eight applications benchmarked, AdviserNETgain, Coin and Xplan implemented a client service level agreement approach to FOFA compliance. AdviserNETgain led development efforts to improve planning efficiency, the report stated.
Xplan remained the top-rated Australian planning application for 2012 (increasing its functionality gap over second-placed Coin Office 4 and third rated AdviserNETgain) on the back of a “vigorous development program” in 2012.
This included the integration of social media platforms into their Adviser Desktop.
The sale of Coin Office to Rubik should produce two next generation Coin-based planning applications from Rubik and Macquarie Adviser Services. Rubik will develop a Coin-based planning application for institutions and its international clients while MAS will develop Macquarie Visor for a range of IFA advice provider markets, according to the report.
“Much of this year’s development activity was associated with the development of a client service package model layered on top of existing workflow functionality to generate the data for FOFA compliance,” said Investment Trends analyst Ian Webster.
“Despite industry consolidation, planning and advice application development is now more vigorous than it has been since the first half of the previous decade. Scaled advice and direct to client applications will be the focus of planning application development in 2013.”
Leading application developers’ approach to FOFA is based on a client service package model supporting client service-level agreements.
While some of the smaller developers and some platform-aligned applications have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to implementing FOFA, the three leading applications – XPLAN, Coin and AdviserNETgain, have implemented similar approaches with client service-level agreement based processes providing the data for fee disclosure statement production and “best Interests” test compliance.
“This approach extends an unprecedented level of application monitoring and disclosure to every part of planner’s daily planning activities,” says Ian Webster. “The introduction of client service package-based planning is likely to be as significant a change to planners’ activities as the introduction of Approved Product List functionality several years ago.”
The Rubik acquisition of Coin will result in two new planning applications based on Coin Office from two experienced development teams.
Following the sale of Coin Office to Rubik, two planning applications will be developed from the Coin Office 4 code base by Rubik and Macquarie Adviser Services to support new approaches to advice provision by institutions and the broadening market for advice provision. Rubik will develop a Coin-based planning application for institutions and its international clients, while MAS will develop Macquarie Visor for a range of IFA advice provider markets.
“Despite industry consolidation, planning and advice application development is now more vigorous than it has been since the first half of the previous decade,” says Ian Webster.
About the report
The 2012 Financial Planning Software Report is the eighth annual benchmark of the planning application features and functionality available to Australian financial planners.
Eight applications were benchmarked in the 2012 Report - AdvisorLogic, AdviserNETgain, Coin Office, Macquarie Visor Desktop, MidWinter, MoneyOne, n-link and XPLAN.
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