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Data hub needed to boost e-commerce

A central information hub for providers and advisers to exchange information on e-commerce services is needed to overcome barriers to usage, says the Adviser E-Enquiry project.

It found the three main obstacles preventing greater use of e-commerce among advisers are lack of awareness, complexity and insufficient training and support.

The project is led by software provider 1st and supported by Prudential, Friends Provident, Scottish Widows, Standard Life, Webline and IBM. It looks at statistics from providers and 15 adviser firms, including Heath Lambert, Grant Thornton, Informed Choice and Armstrong Watson.

Its research suggests that many firms do not know e-commerce services exist, particularly valuations. It also says advisers are put off by complex set-up procedures and lengthy, jargon-filled user guides.

As well as a central information hub, it proposes that starter packs should be provided to help every adviser firm use e-commerce services.

1st executive chairman Rory Curran says: “Even in its early stages, this is proving a fascinating project to work on, with lots of very interesting feedback coming from the firms in our study group.”

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