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How to build solid in-house software

Building a software system in-house requires significant buy-in from an advice licensee, but the benefits in terms of agility and customisation can be worth it, a dealer services provider has said.

In a recent blog post for the Institute of Managed Account Professionals, LaVista Licensee Solutions chief operating officer Tanya Seale said developing in-house software could be a good move for licensees, as it would allow them to respond more quickly to changes in the market such as new regulations.

This had been the case for aligned dealer groups under LaVista parent company Clearview, Ms Seale said.

“For us, mandating our technology offering was a good move. This enabled us to have a central system, where we’re able to generate reporting from a single system,” she said.

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“Another benefit of mandating our software has meant that although we have continued to deal with legislative changes, we haven’t had to move systems to continue our monitoring and supervision of advisers. This means we haven’t been distracted by these regulatory changes, because we already have a technology system in place that can deal with these changes.

“However, this has meant we have had to invest heavily in our technology, process and systems, which we continue to support, develop and review.”

Ms Seale said advice groups needed to have sufficient scale and resources to ensure the technology continued to function effectively, including hiring in-house IT staff.

“Whether licensees decide to go in-house or outsource their support and development, will largely depend on their size,” she said.

“Our in-house support and development team has enabled us to be nimble and move quickly with our technology when required to do so. For example, when we need to roll out a new project, we can do that quickly, without having to spend a lot of time briefing external developers.”

Ms Seale said developing in-house software also provided more opportunities for customisation, where practices could choose the essentials such as compliance monitoring functionality, and allow advisers to plug in additional services.

“We have adopted a ‘core system’ approach with our software. For us, our ‘non-negotiables’ included advice generation, record-keeping, remuneration, and compliance monitoring,” she said.

“So, just as advisers have a ‘core satellite approach’ with their investments, we’ve got a core approach for our system. And working off our core system, we have a satellite approach for other client-facing API (application programming interface) add-ons, like digital fact finds and client wealth portals.”

How to build solid in-house software
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