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Welcome to the latest Altus newsletter. It’s hard to believe that we’ve just completed our 10th trading year and I’m pleased to say that we’ve had another very good year, culminating in the appointment of Hugo Thorman as our new Chairman. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers, partners and, of course, our talented people for your continued commitment and support.

On the software front, Altus Business Systems released a major new version of the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG version 2.7) earlier this month.  This release is a major investment for us and represents a big step forward in terms of functionality, capability and support for the very latest version of the transfer standards.  The adoption of automated electronic transfers continues to make steady progress (see Howard’s latest market update below) encouraged by the release of agreed common standards from TeX.  We will continue to support open and interoperable standards, a philosophy that we are now bringing to the Pension Dashboard debate. Ben’s blog below provides a useful guide on the subject.  Finally, new releases of our funds trading solutions, due in the New Year, are proving a team distraction from Christmas shopping! 

Our consultants have been busy too. During an interview at this year’s Platforum Conference on the evolution of D2C platforms, Altus’ Adam Jones predicted we’d see an increase in simplicity, ease of use and a new approach to client education – the full interview is about half way down. The tail end of November saw the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement. A relatively quiet affair, by George’s usual standards, saw key changes to auto enrolment, stamp duty and social housing, a  turn around on working tax credits and subscription limits left unchanged. Altus’ Jon Dean’s briefing paper outlines the highlights and the impact on financial services businesses. 

Finally, on behalf of all of us here at Altus, I’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and successful 2016.

David Jackson, Managing Director
In this Issue
Pictured: Members of staff of Altus Business Systems and Consulting celebrating Altus 10th anniversary

Interview: Altus 10 years in Business, David Jackson, Managing Director

In this brief interview, Managing Director, David Jackson reflects on 10 years in business, the changes he has seen in the Financial Services industry and what he believes the future holds for both the industry and Altus.

Read Altus 10 years in Business: Interview Notes.
Pictured: from left to right; Steve Gazzard, CEO, Institute of Financial Planning, Standard Life. Howard Finnegan, Sales and Marketing Director, Altus. David Tiller, Head of Platforms, Standard Life. Kate Silverton, Radio and TV Presenter.

The Aberdeen UK Platform Awards 2015  
Sales and Marketing Director, Howard Finnegan was honoured to present the 'Best Large Platform Provider' award to Standard Life as voted for by the adviser community. The awards were held on the evening of the 22nd of September 2015 at the London Hilton on Park Square and hosted by Kate Silverton. Read more about the winners... 

New Release - v2.7 Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG)

Business Systems Director, Ben Cocks is pleased to announce the release of version 2.7 for the Altus Transfer Gateway product.

ATG 2.7 is the culmination of developments with open interoperable standards along with feedback from a wide range of users representing over 30 organisations, from advisor platforms through to wealth managers and execution only/D2C providers.

Learn more about how ATG allows providers to automate their entire end to end transfer.

Obtain a copy of the comprehensive release notes

Request to see the new ATG in action

Interview: D2C Platforum Conference 2015

Altus Senior Consultant, Adam Jones answers "How will D2C evolve over the next 3 years?" and "What was your biggest take-away from Platforum's D2C conference?". 

Watch: Adam Jones, Senior Consultant talk to D2C Platforum 2015

Transfers and Re-registrations
Market Update – Q3 2015

The electronic transfer and re-registration market during the third quarter of 2015 could best be described as ‘steady’.

There were no new participants and transfer volumes were lower than the previous quarter; we normally see volumes drop off over the summer following the tax year end peak volumes.

Click here for a complete run-down of the stats for the quarter

2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement Briefing Paper by Jon Dean, Senior Consultant

"Usually these days, a Budget or Autumn Statement would be interesting for what it tells us the Government plans to do.  This time, the Spending Review and Autumn Statement is more interesting for what is not happening. These include:
  • A complete climb-down on cuts to the Working Tax Credits regime.
  • No change to ISA and JISA subscription limits.
  • Deferring the mandated escalation of minimum contribution rates in company auto-enrolment pension schemes.
Other big changes widely predicted by the press, and previously flagged by HMT itself, included the end of salary sacrifice and measures to tackle abuse of ‘deeds of variation’.  Both remain under review by the Treasury and look likely to be the subject of further speculation before next year’s Budget.

2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement from Jon Dean, Senior Consultant. Download your copy of the briefing paper.

What is a Pension Dashboard?

With all the uncertainty surrounding pension regulations it’s unlikely that many providers will want to commit to supporting a Pension Dashboard until the government gives a clearer direction on its intentions.

Providers are understandably nervous that another change of heart from the government could leave the Pension Dashboard high and dry alongside Pot-Follows-Member.Nevertheless, regulators, providers and technology companies have already started sketching out how a Pension Dashboard might be delivered.

If all parties are willing to play their part in an open and collaborative debate then just maybe we can get it off the ground this time.

Business Architecture Training Course

Next course dates:
17th - 19th May 2016 Book course

Download brochure for more information

Consultant Jon Dean Completed London to Brighton Cycle Challenge for Macmillan

Altus Senior Consultant, Jon Dean rode the 67 miles from Smithfield to Hove in 4h 28m 20s to raise money for Macmillian.

Jon said; "We all know someone who's been affected by cancer and I wanted to do my bit towards making sure there is always someone to support those affected and their families through treatment".

If you wanted to donate to this cause please click here

In the Press!

Catching up to digital leaders
Insurance Age

Former Ascentric Chairman Thorman becomes Altus Chairman
Financial Planner

Opening the Transfer Window
Trustnet Magazine

Technology Adapt of Die
Pensions World

Rise of the Retirement Advice Robots
FT Adviser

Action demanded on pension transfer charges
FT Adviser

Read more In the Press! from Altus Business Systems and Consulting
Latest Blog: We bought a configurable system, why is it taking so long?
By Principal Consultant, Bruce Davidson

Bruce's blog post talks about how highly-configurable systems appear to cause numerous change programmes in financial services to have poor project success rates. The blog highlights how, surprisingly, businesses are still failing to appreciate the importance of having a solid architectural understanding of all the configurations available to them and a software-and-configuration development process that will maximises their project productivity if they are to enter into new markets and compete effectively. Great blog post! Read more... 
Upcoming Events

Altus are attending the following events. If you are coming along please contact and we will arrange for you to meet with one of the team.

The Investment Network
14th-15th January 2016, Nutfield Priory Hotel and Spa, Redhill, Surrey
Kevin Okell, Consulting Director

ATG User Group
3rd February 2016, SWIFT, Corn Exchange, 55 Mark Lane, London, EC3R 7NE 
Howard Finnegan, Sales and Marketing Director, Nick Meredith, Chief Architect. Liz Sharp, Marketing Manager. Ben Cocks, Business Systems Director

Rise of the Machines: Where next for Robo Advice?
25th February 2015, London (invitation-only event)
Kevin Okell, Consulting Director. Simon Bussy, Principal Consultant.
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