Why platform due diligence should include MI and reporting tools
Strong management information (MI) and reporting capabilities should be on the ‘must have’ due diligence list an adviser goes through when selecting a platform, argues Philippa Russell, head of Corporate Communications, Novia
It is not often that client reporting gets the spotlight shone upon it in the media. In terms of ‘air time’ it is undoubtedly the poor relation when comparing it to its bigger hitting cousins such as super clean share classes, the rebate debate, investment vehicles and platform charging structures. However, as many of our supporting advisers frequently feedback to us, it is the use of our management information (MI) and our reporting feature ‘Report Zone’ that many of them like best about the platform. Many tell us it is actually this single feature that can make all the difference when deciding which platform they are to use and why.
With the RDR ensuring all platforms, old and new, big and small, are to be seen to be squeaky clean and transparent when it comes to pricing – we are all more focused than ever on how much a platform costs. However a big part of that question has to be, what does it have to offer me? What can ABC Platform do to help my business function in a more streamlined and profitable way, leaving me free to advise and service my client book?
A well thought through and intuitive reporting functionality here can make all the difference. A good reporting tool should include not just client information but also business metrics, enabling the adviser to segment their clients and target appropriately the correct marketing messages. An example might be the ability for the platform to produce an outstanding ISA allowance report.
Another example of the successful use of reporting could be the availability of a report that can aggregate valuation and portfolio data across different legal entities such as husband and wife, or a third party offshore bond with a third party SIPP and individually held GIA and ISA. As this can be produced in an immediately presentable format it can save hours of preparation time for advisers. Finally reports such as a pension report can, for example, consolidate drawdown information for advisers, showing the clients in drawdown, the amount being paid, the next review date and the tax code. This sort of information can be laborious for the adviser to get from providers, so having it in one place for all clients can help to save valuable time
We recently launched our new “revamped” Report Zone tool, which includes new features such as a new user dashboard, which is a snap shot of key financial and business information (which can be tailored by the adviser,) a new favourite reports area, a new client search area, a new mobile design which means Report Zone can be accessed easily on mobiles, tablets etc, as well as active phone links where displayed numbers can be accessed directly from mobiles / skype etc.
So far we have had good feedback from our advisers and paraplanners, but it remains to be seen if true straight through processing and strong reporting and MI data can make the bright lights of the media agenda or make it on to the ‘must have’ list of the robust due diligence process an adviser goes through when selecting a platform. I certainly hope so.
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