BUSINESS SYSTEMS & CONSULTING FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
Welcome to our quarterly newsletter.
In an increasingly unpredictable world I’m pleased to say that it’s been very much business as usual for Altus since we were last in touch - from the launch of our latest platform efficiencies whitepaper and release of a new BACS Cash ISA transfer service, through to insights on Amazon’s ability to disrupt the insurance world and predictions about how Artificial Intelligence adoption might shape the financial advice industry of the future, I hope you find something of interest in what follows.
Platform efficiencies white paper: Giving your platform wings
*HOT OFF THE PRESS*
In the latest Altus White Paper “Giving your platform wings”, we revisit a theme we first explored a few years ago – platform profitability. The overall picture is a little healthier this time around, but it’s still a mixed bag and there remains plenty of room for improvement.
The paper draws on our wide experience across the platform sector to highlight some common areas of operational inefficiency, with real figures to show what is possible, and some guidance on the kinds of technology that can help.
We look beyond Operations too, at the costs of the rest of a platform business and the drag these can have on profitability – again providing figures from our platform benchmark, to add valuable data points for platforms to compare themselves against.
ATG leads the way to easier and faster transfers with new functionality to track BACS transfers
The new version of ATG, which will enter UAT phase early July, will include a brand new functionality to electronically transfer Cash ISAs from Banks and Building Societies, and produce the necessary files for use directly with the BACS Cash ISA service. It will also have enhanced GDPR functionality, including the ability to delete transfers through the ATG UI (security role restricted) and automatically once a transfer has been closed longer than a configured time period.
An online meeting will be held after the UAT deployment to demonstrate these new functionalities. Further details will be sent out nearer the time. If you would like additional information in the meantime, please contact Howard Finnegan.
Amazon Insurance Opportunity - 10 areas Amazon can disrupt
From its humble beginnings of selling books, to becoming the world’s biggest global e-retailer, Amazon has diversified into new markets at will and with unrelenting ability.
Based on the Altus General Insurance Capability Model, in this infographic we look at 10 areas where we believe Amazon has an opportunity to disrupt the Insurance Industry, and also the places where they could struggle.
If Amazon do decide to take the plunge further into general insurance, and the complex regulatory framework may be a saving grace here, then you can be sure that it will be a decisive and disruptive step, will make use of their extensive knowledge of their customers, and will provide a simple but compelling journey for these customers.
Pensions administrators mostly use an off the shelf third party payroll or administration system to manage tax records and tax outgoing payments. In the past, this generally worked quite well. Then came pension freedoms and flexi-access drawdown. Payroll systems have not been updated, and cannot cope with irregular or ad-hoc payments. They don’t cater well for multiple accounts or drawdown arrangements making payments to the same pensioner, and don’t have the means to apply correct tax codes. Similarly, legacy systems, particularly in the annuity sector, are hard to update and often can’t keep up with the recent changes to regulations.
To address this issue, talk to us about our new Altus Pensions Gateway. APG supports flexible payment schedules across multiple product types, employers and administration functions. You get a clear view of all payments and tax across all customers and employees, and have a full audit trail of all transactions and calculations
PEAK Maturity Benchmark *NEW FEATURE*
With customers and advisers expecting their financial services to become easier to use, and pricing pressure bearing down on margins, continuous improvement is a necessity in most financial services firms.
To direct the limited effort available to improve things it helps to have a detailed understanding of where your operations are strongest and weakest, and how this compares to your strategy. Using the new capability maturity assessment in PEAK allows you to easily score your service against our industry benchmark criteria – allowing easy differentiation of areas where your operations are “market leading” from those that are “behind the curve”.
New standard for open transfer framework now agreed
Plans are now in place for significant improvements to the open transfer framework to be implemented by November 2019.
The final scope of the new standard (v3.1.1 if you’re interested) has now been agreed by TeX and UKFMPG. The key new features to be included are:
More sophisticated support for in-specie SIPP transfers with ring-fenced assets in drawdown (a subject complicated enough for its own blog)
Junior ISA (JISA) transfers, including transfers from Child Trust Funds (CTF) to JISAs
Lifetime ISA transfers
Conversion instructions to allow restricted share classes to be converted and transferred in-specie rather than sold (although sadly not the ability to automate the conversion instruction to the fund manager)
On Thursday 10th May at an exclusive event at The Shard, Wealth Wizards brought together around sixty senior industry executives into one room to discuss and predict how a future advice industry using AI might look.
Simon BussyWealth Management Director at Altus based his talk on his white paper, Artificial Intelligence: the evolution of financial advice which defines what AI is, considers its use outside and inside of the FS sector, explores the key challenges, and makes predictions about the breadth and shape of the financial advice sector in a few years’ time, sharing key insights from the US and China, and the importance of the Open Banking initiative here in the UK.
Other speakers included: Peet Denny - Chief Technology Officer at Wealth Wizards, David Stevens - Life Advice Director at LV= and Dr Daniel Susskind - Fellow at Oxford University, author and former Senior Policy Adviser at the Cabinet Office and author of the best-selling book The Future of the Professions.
Altus has teamed up with Boring Money. This event will inform, demo and inspire. There will be international updates, demos, VC panels, panel debates and input from tech, the regulator, disruptors and the bigwigs.
Altus selects Julian Houseas its charity of the year 2018. A charity that was set up to offer direct support to homeless people in the Bath area, helping individuals to build sustainable, independent lives through work-specific training, job coaching and work experience.
Altus’ donation to the charity will contribute to the running of Julian House programmes that help rebuild people's lives.