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Message from the MD
The final quarter of our financial year has been the busiest yet for both our Consultancy and Products divisions. Record revenue numbers and a growing client base is an encouraging way to end the holiday season.

Judging by the fact that over 500 people attended this year’s Aberdeen Platform Awards, the Investment platform market continues to experience strong growth. However, record inflows and the buoyant sentiments shared at last week’s awards shouldn’t detract us from the significant challenges ahead – clean/super clean share class debates, the growth of D2C platforms and what constitutes advice.  I’m pleased to say that our consultants are increasingly seen as the go to experts in this space.

We’ve also seen significant growth in transfers and re-registration volumes during the summer months with many new participants and vendors now supporting electronic transfers. Some of our clients are now achieving over 60% electronic transfers.  In November we’ll see transfers enter the next exciting phase with support for pension transfers, a wider range of asset classes and custodians.   More proof, if it were needed, that open and interoperable solutions drive innovation and reduce costs. 

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who attended our recent User Group meetings covering funds trading (AIG/AFG) and transfers (ATG). I hope you found these sessions useful and that you’ll join us again.

Many in the pensions industry now recognise that there is a storm brewing for pension transfers whipped up by a combination of regulatory, demographic and market factors. Yet there is little sign of a consensus emerging on how to respond. The very nature of the problem means that it cannot be solved by any one part of the industry acting alone and, however hard it may be, a cross industry approach is required.

Our latest white paper highlights the risk that stovepipe thinking in disparate parts of the pension industry will inadvertently restrict competition and prevent consumers benefiting from the entry of new providers to the pension market.

The paper provides insights into key challenges driving demand for transfers:

- 5 million new pension policies created by auto-enrolment
  • - 1 million new automatic ‘small pot’ transfers a year driven by DWP
  • - 30% average annual growth in SIPPs, of which 70% is transferred
  • - Increased demand for more sophisticated decumulation vehicles
  • - Free flow of pension money to enable open competition between providers
'The Platform Machine'
July saw our first Platforms Consultancy event taking place at SWIFT offices in London. A lively session included talks from Altus' Kevin Okell, Mark Polson (the lang cat) and Paul McMahon with SWIFTs Edward Glyn hosting proceedings. Two panel sessions moderated by Kevin Okell and Matthew Scott from Altus explored operational issues facing platforms; the first focused on technology providers with panel members from Autorek, Dunstan Thomas, GBST and Bravura; the second looked at outsourcing represented by SEI, IFDS, Winterflood and Novia.

You can find out more on our work with Platforms here or download our white paper 'The Platform Machine' in full here.
It’s been nearly a year since the first live transfers were processed by the Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG) and we have seen market adoption continue to accelerate with the number of electronic transactions and participants increasing dramatically over the Summer.  Many of those participants have chosen our ATG product to manage their transfers and on the 10th October Altus hosted its first ever Altus Transfer Gateway (ATG) User Group Meeting at SWIFT offices in London. There was a great turnout on the day with lots of interaction, open discussion on the latest and greatest ATG enhancements and genuine sharing of best practice to help with reconciliation and rejection rates. Feedback was really positive with clients reporting a generally improved understanding of changes to the Transfer Market Practice and the impact on their operations.
Altus Business Architecture Training
We are delighted to be offering further 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 examples, models and case studies to share with delegates our practical experience of dealing with the challenges they face in their own day jobs. 

Our 3 day Business Architecture training course has been built up and delivered internally over a number of years to support the growth of our Consultancy business and is now available to external clients. Companies who have completed the course include Barclay's, Legal and General, Lloyds Banking Group and Prudential.

The next available date for our Business Architecture training is 12th-14th November at our offices in Bath. For more course dates please contact 
Altus hosted its second AIG and AFG User Group Meeting at SWIFT offices in London at the start of October. This meeting followed a number of changes to the ViaNova Market Practice impacting many companies’ STP operations, including revised ISO20022 standards being implemented in November. Changes to the ViaNova Market Practice and the impact on their operations were highly topical and helped improve clarity for our clients. There was some very open and engaging debate on both the standards and on AIG and AFG product enhancements.  Overall feedback was fantastic from attendees and we will be arranging an annual user group in future. You can find out more on Funds Trading here as well as further details on our products AIG and AFG.
Altus Golf Trophy 2013
It was yet another successful year at the Altus Golf Trophy! Thank you to everyone who attended and even though the weather forecast was dismal, the sun turned turned out once again. Together with the fantastic surroundings it made for a great day.

Here is a summary of the days winners:
Winning Individual = Peter Plant (Cofunds)
Second Place Individual = Robert Mulvey (Novia)

Third Place Individual = Paul Axten (Axa Wealth)
Nearest to the Pin = Kevin Okell (Altus)
Longest Drive = Martyn Edwards (Perforce)
Winning Team = David Henderson (Altus), Graeme Webb (Axa Wealth), Kevin Openshaw (Lane Investment Consulting) and Paul Axten (Axa Wealth).
Yellow Ball Winners = As above.

The winners were rewarded with a Bath Ales Gift Set, Medals, Trophies and an Altus Brolly…

Transfer and Re-reg Market Update
The FCA’s recent announcement on progress of electronic transfers and re-registrations stating that it was ‘less than satisfactory’ was a bit of a wake-up call for the industry. However, perhaps a little unfair. During the last quarter, particularly during September, we've seen significant progress in just about all measurements from volume of transfers, number of vendors live and the number of live participants.

The main highlights are:
  • 14 platforms operating live transfers representing 80% of AUA on platforms (8 are using the Altus Transfer Gateway).
  • 41 fund managers are now live, representing 75% of UK FUM (34 are currently using the Altus Transfer Gateway).
  • Calastone and EMX/Euroclear started live interoperable services during the quarter. There are now four vendor provided live services all interoperating.
  • We've seen monthly transfer volumes almost triple when compared to the monthly average for the second quarter of the year.
There is a lot more we can do to improve the situation and convince the FCA of real progress. The coming months present a great opportunity for the industry to prove it can do it. With new capabilities like support for custodians, pensions transfers and a wider range of assets going live on 17thNovember, all the pieces are in place. For more please see my blog here.
On a beautiful autumn evening in London’s Mayfair, 500 platform people filled the ballroom of the London Marriott Hotel for the 2013 Aberdeen Platform Awards. 
Hosted by Kate Silverton, the night’s big winners were Elevate, Aegon and Transact. As well as Altus sponsoring our own table, Altus Consultancy Director Kevin Okell was both a judge on the panel for Best use of platform technology and Leading integrated planning tool provider and also presented the award for Best large platform provider on the night. Well done to all the winners on the night!
At 11.49 local time on Thursday the 26th of September the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, successfully completed the first live trades through the Fundsquare platform using Altus technology. For the technical realisation of its order management services, Fundsquare has partnered with SWIFT and Altus.
Altus last month exhibiting at the ALFI conference in Kirchberg, Luxembourg. The 2 day event attracted over 760 participants with over 40 exhibitors in attendance. Each year ALFI organises this major conference in association with NICSA, the National Investment Company Service Association and with HKIFA, the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, with the objective of informing and updating fund industry professionals on the latest changes, trends and developments globally. 
Crackdown on UK fund market raises alarms
Financial Times
Altus hits back at FCS over re-reg
Altus: 'foster competition in pensions'
Pershing selects Altus for re-reg

Money Marketing
Platforms at a crossroads
Money Marketing
Alliance Trust selects Altus for re-reg
Which Investment Trust
FCA fines pose adviser questions.
FT Adviser
Poor process to blame for most FCA fines.
FT Adviser

Why platforms are competing on a lot more than price
Alliance Trust Savings links with Altus for auto re-reg
Money Marketing
Financial Reporter
Research shows half of platform re-reg now automatic
Money Marketing
Auto re-reg to hit 80% of market by the end of summer
IFA Online
Altus launches pension transfer technology
Money Marketing
Standard Life rolls out automatic
re-reg with Altus

IFA Online

Transfers & Re-reg Update
Howard Finnegan

 A fish needs a bicycle
 Chris McCullam
 Build, buy or integrate?
 David Henderson

 How much?
 Kevin Okell

 Critical Mass
Howard Finnegan
Henry Stewart
SIPPs and Retirement Options
Altus last week spoke and exhibited at the annual Henry Stewart conference at Le Meridien Piccadilly, LondonThis briefing addressed many important issues with SIPP operators needing to know how to minimize risks generated by changes and how to operate efficiently.  Altus' Products director Ben Cocks spoke on 'Seeking Plain Sailing through the Current Perfect Storm for Pension Transfers' following the release of our most recent white paper. With time for questions and discussion amongst leading experts, this was an opportunity to be updated on the all important developments in this rapidly growing and changing market. 

The seventh annual conference is due to take place at the Riverbank Park Plaza in Central London on Wednesday 23rd October and Altus will be exhibiting at the event.

Topics on the agenda so far include:

  • How are our businesses adapting to changing customer needs, and are they doing this effectively?
  • How are businesses communicating with their clients?
  • How can technology make interacting with consumers more efficient?
  • Do we have a grasp on what end-consumers expect from investments - has this changed?