Planners more willing to switch platforms and software

Financial planners are more ready than ever to switch both platforms and planning software, according to the latest data released by Investment Trends.

The Investment Trends 2016 Planner Technology Report, details of which will be discussed at Money Management's forthcoming Fintech Platforms and Wraps Conference, found that more financial planners are in the market for new platform and planning software relationships this year.

It found that the proportion looking to begin using a new platform in the next 12 months increased six per cent to 23 per cent, with similar bad news for software providers.

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Investment Trends head of research for wealth management, Recep Peker, noted that while software relationships tended to be stickier than platform relationships, even in the planning software space, 19 per cent of planners said they were looking for a new software solution — a four per cent increase over last year.

Looking at the reasons for the willingness of planners to investigate change, Peker said that one of the key challenges affecting providers in the current environment had been the increased mandatory expenditure on compliance.

"This means it's especially important to be responsive to planners' needs with the remaining development spend, and to provide training to increase the uptake of new enhancements," he said.

Peker said he believed it was important for providers to demonstrate they were meeting planners' and their clients' needs, as there was a strong relationship between satisfaction and the intention to switch.

"Providers with higher user satisfaction typically have a smaller percentage of users looking to switch," he said.

Peker said that to demonstrate value for money, technology providers needed to support planners through increased practice efficiency and client engagement with financial planners showing an acute focus on lowering costs throughout every part of the value chain amidst a weak return environment.

"As such, lower fees are becoming increasingly important to planners when choosing products," he said.

The Investment Trends research found that AdviserLogic had taken the lead in software satisfaction following enhancements to usability and support, followed by Midwinter and AdviserNetgain

However XPLAN extended its lead in the planning software space with 54 per cent of planners using it as their primary software, up from 50 per cent in 2015. The next two providers together hold 24 per cent of primary relationships.

In the platform space, it found that netwealth achieved the highest platform satisfaction score for the fourth consecutive year, but that CFS FirstChoice and BT Wrap led by share of primary relationships, with each used by 16 per cent of financial planners as their preferred platform for new client flows.

It pointed to HUB24 as having been the most successful in capturing new planner relationships, noting that among those who started using their main platform in the last two years, 10 per cent chose HUB24.

The top three platforms by planner satisfaction are:

1. netwealth

2. HUB24

3. CFS FirstChoice

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