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Message from the MD
It’s been an interesting six months for our industry to put it mildly. The RDR kicked in on 31st December and whilst most of the naysayer predictions have failed to materialise, there have been many challenges - clean share classes, 20% less advisers, life company profits falling, and the rise of D2C platforms all appear to be a direct result of the directive. No doubt we will continue to see significant changes to the way the industry operates in the UK and in Europe – the RDR proved a hot topic at last month’s FundForum International in Monaco!
 
One positive consequence of the RDR is that clients are now able to move platforms within days, even hours when all counter-parties are using electronic messages.  Whilst platforms are experiencing much greater inflows, they are feeling the pressure on margins and are increasingly looking at costs and operational effectiveness. Our white paper “The Platform Machine” and namesake event (10th July) explore the challenges and potential solutions.
 
Finally, I’m pleased to report a significant milestone in the development of cross-border funds trading.  On 1st July the Fundsquare market infrastructure, powered by Altus software, went live making it easier and cheaper to trade in cross border funds. Enjoy the summer holidays, whatever the weather!
'The Platform Machine' - White Paper & Event 
Since 2006, platform AUA has increased more than five-fold. But average revenue per £AUA has fallen from 80bps to 40bps and many platforms are still struggling to turn scale into profit. With margins set to fall further still as regulatory changes bite and price competition rises, it is time for the industry to get serious about costs.

Following the release of our white paper 'The Platform Machine: tuning for efficiency', Altus will be hosting an event this week at SWIFT offices in London tackling this subject. Speakers include Paul McMahon, SWIFT's Edward Glyn, Mark Polson from the lang cat, Bravura's Tony Klim, IFDS's David Moffat and many more. Two panel sessions will take place tackling both technology and outsourcing solutions to improving platform efficiencies. If
 you would like any further details on the event please e-mail us at marketing@altus.co.uk.

Have we reached critical mass?

Between April and June electronic transfers and re-registration activity increased dramatically.  We've seen the number of transfers and asset re-registrations completed electronically increase exponentially month on month. But has the market reached critical mass?  Let’s look at some of the statistics we collected at the end of June;

  • 7 platforms operating live electronic transfers (5 using the Altus Transfer Gateway) representing 53% of AUA on platforms.
  • 24 Fund Managers operating live electronic transfers (all using the Altus Transfer Gateway) representing 61% of UK funds under management.
You can read this full blog from here.

Altus at TISA
Another busy quarter with TISA. The fully booked 'TISA Wrap & Pension' seminar took place on the 9th May at SWIFT offices in London and examined the evolution of platforms following the implementation of the RDR. Altus Consultancy Director Kevin Okell spoke on the key drivers of platform profitability, as well as Altus sponsoring the drinks reception. 

Products Director Ben Cocks spoke as part of a panel for 'the suppliers view' in the 'Share classes, re-registration and the implementation of FCA PS13/1'  event on the 20th May. The panel, moderated by IFDS's David Moffat, had representatives from Calastone and Euroclear. Ben also spoke in June at the Electronic Transfers seminar covering practical issues surrounding multiple share classes, rebates and tax issues, auto enrolment and discussions on STP. Ben also provided details on the background and future plans of TeX. Let me know if you are interested in a copy of his slides.
Altus Business Architecture Training
We are delighted to be offering more dates for our Business Architecture training. Altus works exclusively in financial services, and the course content for our training is focused on the needs of an FS company – we use real fs examples, models and case studies to give delegates the practical experience they need for their day jobs.  

The course is intended for Business Architects and senior Business Analysts and over 3 days covers Business Architecture Fundamentals, Business Design and Architecture, Business Capability and Process, Organisational Design as well as Strategy and Operating model. To find out our next course dates please contact 
training@altus.co.uk.

 
Fundsquare live with Altus Technology
Fundsquare, the newly-created subsidiary of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, has announced that it is now operational from the 1st July 2013. Fundsquare will operate as a market infrastructure for investment funds with an objective to offer streamlined fund distribution processes for various actors in the fund industry and to provide solutions to the mounting cost pressures associated with stronger regulation and a tough economic climate.

For the technical realisation of its order management services, Fundsquare has partnered with SWIFT and Altus. You can read the full press release from Fundsquare here.

Webinar - Corso
Following last quarter’s â€˜Addressing regulatory change in Finance, Banking & Insurance’ Altus and Corso will do their second joint webinar 'Mastering Financial Services Regulation & Change' this Friday 12th July at 4pm. Hosted by Mark Andrews, Principal Consultant at Altus and Corso's CTO,  Jamie Knowles, the full details and registration for the webinar can be accessed from here.
Pension Transfer Pilot Success! 
During June the Altus product development team carried out a series of Pension Transfer Pilots using open interoperable standards based on the UK Funds Market Practice Group’s (UKFMPG) new Transfers market practice, ISO 20022/SWIFT messaging.  The Pension Transfers Pilot validated the extensions to the existing transfers framework created in response to RDR re-registration requirements.  The framework now supports a broad range of pension types including SIPP, GPP and Occupational DC schemes.  

The ten participants in the pilot at this stage of the Pensions Transfer Pilot included representation from across the industry including Life Companies, Platforms, Fund Managers and Pensions Systems Providers.  Altus expects the Pension Transfer Pilots to continue over the summer to incorporate more industry participants, test interoperability with other solution providers and test some of the other extensions to the framework ahead of the live operation on 17th November 2013. I
f you would like to know more about Pension Transfers or would like to participate in some of the pilot sessions please contact us.
'The Bare Share Bunch'
IFAOnline
and again...
and a third!!!
 
'BlackRock joins calls for ‘bare’ share classes'
IFAOnline

'An auto-enrolment wake-up call for small firms'
Actuarial Post

'UK savers set to scramble for a Nest egg'
Financial Times

'Altus: platforms must cut staff numbers'
New Model Adviser

'Skandia to charge platforms for re-reg'
Money Marketing

'New research shows scale of platform margin squeeze'
Money Marketing
IFAOnline
Investment Week
Citywire

'Fundsquare market infrastructure to be operational on 1 July'
ITnews
SWIFT Business Forum
This years SWIFT Business Forum took place last quarter bringing together 700-plus FS professionals to explore the key challenges and opportunities facing our industry. These challenges were debated by a line-up of senior industry figures.

Altus again exhibited at the event at the Brewery in London. Products Director, Ben Cocks, also spoke on the panel 'Everyone wants a piece of the pension pie. Who is going to win?' along with representatives from The Platforum, Fidelity, State Street and TISA's Malcolm Small as moderator.
Altus speak at Northern Trust Breakfast Briefing 
Director of Investment Management Practice at Altus, Charles McCready, last month spoke at a breakfast briefing hosted by Northern Trust discussing life companies facing increasing complexity in their pension product middle offices. Charles summarised the big challenge for the life companies is in ensuring that their systems are fit for purpose, they can handle the volumes and that the processes do not become costly to administer.  Altus also sees this as being an area that will become of greater interest to outsource providers and life companies that no longer want to maintain administration in-house.
Altus' Principal Consultant, Mark Andrews, spoke last month at the Enterprise Architecture Conference, one of the largest conferences of its type, at the Radisson Blu Portman hotel in London. 

Speaking on the 13th June, Mark discussed 'Business Architecture making a difference at LBG', receiving resounding positive reviews. 
For more information on the conference click here.
Altus Golf Day 2013
The date for this year’s Altus Golf Day Trophy has now been confirmed and will be taking place on the 20th September at a new venue of the prestigious Bowood Golf and Country Club. Good luck to all our eager golfers and fingers crossed the weather holds out until then!
Last month, Altus exhibited at FundForum International, Monaco, the world’s largest asset management event. The forum gave great coverage for Altus whose technology is powering Fundsquare’s European market infrastructure for investment funds.
 2014: The AE time bomb?
 Adam Jones

 Ready for Ageing?
 Malcolm Small
  
 Pot follows member
 Malcolm Small

 What's in a name?
Chris McCullam

Do we still regulate advice?
Kevin Okell

 Please DWP, keep it simple
 Ben Cocks

 The flat-rate state pension
 
Malcolm Small

 Would you like service?
  Jon Dean


  Slipping through the cracks
  Charles McCready

Annual Conference
 
As associate members of the Association of Member-Directed Pension Schemes (AMPS), Altus exhibited at the AMPS Annual Conference 2013 which took place on Tuesday 21st May at the Paddington Hilton in London. 

AMPS has over 200 members representing all parts of the industry with members of some of the largest pension providers.
Altus Presents at The-Pensions-Net-Work (TPNW) 
Ben Cocks, Altus Products Director, presented on ‘The Perfect Storm for Pension Transfers’.  TPNW gathers together some of the luminaries from across the industry to discuss upcoming challenges and opportunities.  Ben’s talk looked at the regulatory and market changes that drive the volume of pension transfers, including auto-enrolment, the pension’s bill currently going through parliament and the move to ‘simple’ SIPPs. Promoting a solution based on open and interoperable standards based on ISO20022/SWIFT and the UKFMPG, Ben’s talk was well received and generated a significant amount of discussion, with support for a truly open standards approach to pension transfers.