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Exchange back-office deal will store IFA data on central system

The Exchange is setting up an IFA back-office system as a part of parent company Marlborough Sterling&#39s plan to offer straight-through processing for IFAs.

The Exchange&#39s Officeweb system, which it hopes will challenge Misys&#39s Mi-Solution software, will be launched at the end of March.

The service aims to solve IFAs&#39 technology problems by hosting all data on centralised servers, which can be accessed online for a mon-thly fee.

The Exchange says the third-party hosting option means IFAs will not pay for annual software upgrades or system servicing. Remote hosting also means all data is backed up for disaster recovery but there could be opposition from some advisers unhappy about losing control of client files.

Officeweb comprises a central customer database, which can be attached to customer relationship management, fee and commission accounting and workflow modules.

Later in the year, the system will integrate with the Exweb new business processing software, enabling the population of client data to electronic application forms transmitted direct to providers.

The system will initially be targeted at medium-sized and big IFAs and networks.

Officeweb marketing head Mark Goss says: “The key is that the system is based on one central database, with a number of functional modules. With the ASP system, it is up to us to reassure IFAs that there is no problem us having their data.”

Financial Technology Res-earch Centre director Ian McKenna says: “One of the challenges The Exchange will face is the reluctance among IFAs to let go of data. But banks and societies have been doing this for years and in the 21st Century you do not have to keep data locally. It is a logical move for The Exchange.”

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