When you combine Australia’s dominant financial planning software provider with the nation’s single largest third-party fund registry company, what do you get? A potential threat to the shape of Australia’s platform market.
Iress surprised many with the announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Monday of its bid to acquire OneVue not only because many people continue to regard Iress as a software-focused company but because the purchase price could be regarded as generous, in the circumstances.
However, the Iress acquisition needs to be viewed through a highly strategic lens with the key phrase in the company’s investor presentation being that it “provides an opportunity to more effectively connect advice recommendations to implementation”.
Quite simply, Iress appears focused on taking a step down the path currently dominated by platforms.
It wants to get closer to advisers via OneVue’s assets and capabilities with the company describing it as “an opportunity for development of software and services that brings advice and investments closer together”.
And the bottom line is that there are many in the Australian platform sector who will recognise that at least a part of what Iress is seeking to achieve via the OneVue transaction is very close to what platforms themselves have been trying to achieve, albeit from a somewhat different perspective.
The attraction for Iress is undoubtedly the reach and potential which can be delivered via OneVue, not least 1,383 funds across 58 fund managers and 95% recurring revenue via subscription, transaction and service fees.
The bottom line for the Australian platform industry is that a significant player has joined the fray with the potential to develop an offering derived of both planning software and fund administration which busy financial planners are likely to find compelling.