Investment Trends 2017 Planner Technology Report – the door is open for tech savvy providers to stake their claim

From

Peker Recep

Key highlights from the Investment Trends 2017 Planner Technology Report:

  • Financial planners’ needs are evolving, but technology providers are struggling to keep pace. The door is open for tech savvy providers to stake their claim
  • The newer platforms are mounting a strong challenge against the established players – existing planner relationships will be put to the test
  • HUB24 and Netwealth share top spot in platform satisfaction
  • AdviserLogic maintained its lead in software satisfaction for the second consecutive year

In its fourteenth year, the Investment Trends 2017 Planner Technology Report is an in-depth study of Australian financial planners and their technology needs. The study is based on a survey of 533 financial planners concluded in May 2017, and identifies key trends in the platform and planning software markets.

Financial planners’ needs are evolving, but technology providers are struggling to keep pace. The door is open for tech savvy providers to stake their claim

Despite the significant investments being made by technology providers, financial planners feel their support needs are still not being sufficiently met. The latest Investment Trends Planner Technology Report reveals that platform and planning software providers have been unsuccessful in lifting planner satisfaction in recent years.

Planners are becoming increasingly unsettled with their product suite as a result. The vast majority (75%) are open to switching their primary platform, either for lower admin fees (47%) or a wider platform feature set (28%).

Even among the 47% who are seeking lower admin fees, functionality enhancements remain a significant driver of potential switching – among this cohort, 82% would be enticed to switch platforms for functionality enhancements.

“Many financial planners feel their technology partners could be doing even more to empower them,” said Recep Peker, Research Director at Investment Trends. “While planners traditionally use platforms for their efficiency benefits, the vast majority are open to alternative solutions that play a greater role in advice delivery, from the back office to the front,” explained Peker.

“Planners envision the next generation of platforms to be feature rich, providing them support with plan production, modelling tools and interactive client review tools,” added Peker.

The newer platforms are mounting a strong challenge against the established players – existing planner relationships will be put to the test

CFS FirstChoice and BT Wrap are the two most widely used platforms among planners, with 32% and 29% using each for their new client inflows, respectively. However, the newer platforms – Netwealth, HUB24 and BT Panorama – are steadily extending their market share.

“Netwealth, HUB24 and BT Panorama are among the most technologically advanced platforms in the market, delivering not only efficient admin and online functionality, but also a wide ranging proposition that includes good portfolio management tools and a wide product range,” said Peker.

“Good BDM relationships also play a key role in driving selection for these platforms, which emphasises how vital it is to blend a feature rich proposition with good support,” added Peker.

HUB24 and Netwealth share top spot in platform satisfaction

Netwealth and HUB24 achieved the joint highest overall platform satisfaction score this year. Both these platforms rate significantly higher than their peers across service areas relating to BDM support, mobile access and user interface.

The top five platforms by overall satisfaction are:

1. Netwealth & HUB24 (joint 1st)
3. CFS FirstChoice
4. BT Wrap
5. Macquarie Wrap

AdviserLogic maintained its lead in software satisfaction for the 2nd consecutive year

While XPLAN maintains a dominant position in the planning software space (54% use it as their primary software), AdviserLogic is steadily making inroads.

For the second successive year, AdviserLogic has secured top spot in overall software satisfaction. AdviserLogic also leads the industry across the majority of service elements measured, especially with quality of training, navigational efficiency and user interface.

The top three software providers by overall satisfaction score are:

1. AdviserLogic
2. Midwinter
3. XPLAN

As it stands, the average financial planner uses 3.2 separate systems to collect data required for client reviews. If given the opportunity to consolidate to one single system, planners overwhelmingly prefer their planning software to fulfil this role, ahead of their platforms or third party standalone solutions.

“Planners believe their planning software provider is best placed to improve integration between systems,” said Peker. “Planning software providers have the opportunity to solidify their position as planners’ client data hub.”

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