Financial planning software provider IRESS now controls more than half the market following the migration of VisiPlan and AdviserCentral users, while a surge in Midwinter’s overall satisfaction returned it to the spot of preferred provider.
Xplan holds 51 per cent of primary planner relationships among software users in Australia, according to the Investment Trends 2013 Planner Technology Report which recently surveyed 1,141 financial planners.
This follows the continuing migration of VisiPlan users after IRESS purchased the software in 2007, as well as the continuing migration of users from MLC’s AdviserCentral software.
Xplan held just 39 per cent of primary relationships in the 2012 report.
This continues a theme of consolidation in the sector, with the top four providers now accounting for 87 per cent of primary relationships – up from 56 per cent in 2004.
“The planning software market has completely morphed over the past decade,” Investment Trends senior analyst Recep Peker said.
“Where VisiPlan used to dominate, and Microsoft Excel was used to plug the gaps, Xplan is now the main planning tool for half of Australian planners.”
Coin software, which has been purchased by Rubik from Macquarie, still holds 25 per cent of primary relationships, with Midwinter also steady at 7 per cent and AdviserNETgain down slightly from 5 per cent to 4 per cent.
Adviser satisfaction increased across the board, with Midwinter recording the best results and achieving the highest satisfaction rating for a fourth time, having also had the top-rated software in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 studies.
Portfolio construction, capturing fact-find information, helping select investments and producing client review reports were the areas which saw the biggest improvement, highlighting development across the board over the past year, according to Mr Peker.
“Planners are also happier with their planning software across every element measured compared to a decade ago, though the area with the smallest growth in satisfaction – ease of use – is also the main area that planners still say they want software providers to improve,” he added.
In terms of satisfaction, Xplan increased its lead over Coin among the major providers but Midwinter was the highest rated in 13 out of 25 categories, recording an 8 per cent increase in overall satisfaction from the 2012 study.
Noting the Rubik acquisition, Mr Peker said “it will be interesting to see what happens to Coin’s satisfaction ratings following their new and upcoming developments, including the refresh of the Coin user experience.”
The survey also found the average time taken to generate a statement of advice (SoA) continues to decrease, according to the survey. Midwinter said its users now take around 5 hours 47 minutes on average – roughly an hour less than the average six years ago, and 40 minutes lower than the industry average.
Midwinter managing director Julian Plummer told InvestorDaily this is largely due to investment in making the software easy to navigate and increasing functionality, allowing advisers to model different scenarios and helping them to select investments directly.
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