The smaller players shaking up financial planning software

XPLAN iress fintech financial planning software

6 March 2024
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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Financial advice software providers DASH and intelliflo believe Australia has been “starved of innovation” in the software industry, enabling innovative smaller players to better serve the advice market.

Last month, several financial advisers revealed to Money Management their frustrations with popular financial planning software Xplan, describing it as “clunky” and in need of improvement.

“[Xplan] doesn’t necessarily interact with other software as well as we would like. I think people see Xplan, to some degree, as a necessary evil, and the prices are certainly going up,” said Jaimie Ramsey, founder and principal consultant at Advice Business Consulting.

According to Iress, the platform holds a 60 per cent market share and has 38,000 users.

Beyond Xplan, competition in the software industry has been driven by larger names such as Midwinter and AdviserLogic, as well as the emergence of smaller players.

Some advisers expressed that while alternative providers have “great bells and whistles”, they are not quite where they need to be to provide the current level of advice.

Speaking to Money Management, DASH chief executive Andrew Whelan said trying to compete with Xplan has been a key issue plaguing the software market.

“The problem we’ve had as an industry is we’ve just set our mind on potentially eating Xplan’s lunch or going after incumbency, but we haven’t been asking the right question, which is how much are we actually helping advisers?

“Given the lack of innovation in the industry over the last 10 years prior to the royal commission, it’s an exciting time to be in this business.”

Instead, Whelan said it is most important for software providers to focus on easy integration and innovative developments such as utilising artificial intelligence (AI).

Stuart Alsop, head of sales at intelliflo Australia, also believes that Australia has been “starved” of these advancements compared to other jurisdictions. Intelliflo was first launched in the UK in 2004 and now holds a 52 per cent market share in the British market. Four years ago, the company decided to bring their advice technology Down Under, offering a CRM platform with capabilities such as a client portal, cash flow modelling, advice document management and revenue management.

“Historically, Australia has been starved of innovation in the software market. We are starting to see new players emerge, we’re obviously one of them, so it’s certainly getting more interest as more software providers now try to help advice practices grow,” he said.

“What we want to do is bring that market-leading technology over to Australia and drive innovation in the market. It’s been crying out for new innovation and technology systems like ours. There hasn’t been as much choice in the market previously.”

He added that intelliflo’s purpose remains focused on widening Australians’ access to financial advice through a hybrid approach.

“If you’re an advice practice, you’re left with only a couple options, whereas now there’s been a proliferation of solutions coming to market which naturally drives competition. It goes without saying, there are some great options for advice practices these days.”

One of the key pieces of feedback the firm said it receives from advisers is the speed and performance of its software, without having to wait for a buffering screen.

Alsop continued: “There’s a lot of advisers that have a really poor customer experience when using other softwares – it’s slow, it takes them a while to get anything done.

“We tripled our revenue last year which is quite typical for an emerging player where you have those high growth needs. I think the role for businesses like us is to help financial advisers grow their business and give more advice to more consumers.”

Over at DASH, the software has approximately 1,400 users in Australia. Following Iress’ sale of its OneVue platform business to Praemium, DASH has become the only player to offer both a financial planning software and investment platform in one shop.

Whelan also previously spoke with Money Management on how it plans to become the “holy grail” of adviser technology.

“Currently, advisers have one financial planning software such as Iress or Midwinter, and then use multiple different platforms, which means they need to keep re-entering the information. Advisers are desperate for a solution that covers all areas in one; they have said it will be a ‘holy grail’ if we can get it done,” he said at the time.

 

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Submitted by Gary Douglas on Thu, 2024-03-14 19:05

So when you knock off ‘ XPlan’ you can easily move onto Google & Microsoft.

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