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Midwinter relaunches into the cloud
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>The group said it has started from scratch, describing it as the most significant overhaul yet seen in the financial planning software space, with full Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) readiness including fee disclosure statement (FDS) and opt-in functionality.

It has already been operating on a trial basis with two non-aligned advice groups and has drawn interest from the industry fund advice space.

Midwinter also stressed it would continue to service and update its current flagship product, Reasonable Basis, for advisers who preferred or needed to maintain a desktop solution.

National head of distribution at Midwinter Peter Burns said despite a number of upgrades over the years, the existing Reasonable Basis software didn’t really have an enterprise solution that would be robust at the dealer group level, it didn’t fully integrate and lacked a full set of client engagement tools.

“These issues are coming more to the fore. Industry funds have gone from criticising those who provide advice to providing advice, and they’re looking for more client engagement tools as well,” he said.

There came a point two years ago where the group had to decide whether to either integrate and upgrade the existing software or to start from scratch, eventually deciding on the latter option, Mr Burns said.

“We’ve already seen the industry funds are incredibly interested in this and we’ve already sold licences, off the back of the client engagement software, to the industry funds. They’re good at engaging clients now but they don’t have couple calculators or optimisers.”

The software has been picked up by Link Group subsidiary and Australian Administration Services joint venture Money Solutions, which provides advice services to a number of large industry funds including REST and Club Plus.

“We’ve gone from being a Reasonable Basis house to rebranding under AdviceOS that better encompasses what we’re all about, providing that holistic solution to not only the financial planner space but also the dealer group space”.

The software would allow advisers to grant clients access to explore their own portfolios and even update their details or suggest changes to their investment options through an iPad-compatible module. Any changes would send an alert to the adviser to confirm those changes before they can be implemented.

Demonstrating the software, Midwinter executive director Andrew McClelland showed how the portfolio management tool was prepopulated with fees for any of hundreds of managed funds, and platform and wrap options – a process that meant the software was constantly being updated.

Group managing director Julian Plummer said AdviceOS would feature a three-stage launch with the first stage, ready now, having already featured in a trial with non-institutional advice groups Neo Financial Solutions and Gold Financial.

This would include the base package, the only non-optional component in the software, including basic client management, document storage and statement of advice generation.

The launch also includes a FOFA module with FDS generation (which feeds into commission systems such as Easy Dealer), renewal notices and a client segmentation tool. Other launch modules include insurance, products, fact find and client engagement.

The June release will add scaled advice functionality, with transition to retirement analysis and contributions analysis. The group committed to having the final stage ready before its September roadshow, featuring a number of calculators, a comprehensive strategy package, SMSF cashflow and modelling and more complete portfolio analysis, reporting and data feed integration.

Midwinter said AdviceOS will avoid traditional cloud-based software issues such as lagging performance and server outages through dual hosting locations on separate flood plains. It will dynamically draw server power in high usage periods, as well as download temporary files onto the local computer to speed operation. All details and forms are instantly backed up to the server to prevent data loss.

Mr Plummer said the group benefited by not being early adopters of cloud-based software, meaning it had no legacy issues and was now able to pick and choose from the most advanced options available, going with an Amazon option.

 

Midwinter relaunches into the cloud
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