The Finance & Technology Research Centre is launching a free auto-enrolment and protection comparison service for advisers.
The Quality Analyser, which will launch on 22 April, assesses providers based on the quality of their service rather than price alone.
The tool will focus initially on workplace pensions and protection but there are plans to launch a comparison tool for the savings market.
The workplace module of the Quality Analyser has tools for auto-enrolment, group personal pensions and group Sipps.
These compare providers, middleware solutions and corporate benefits advisers. Nest and Scottish Widows are the main auto-enrolment providers missing from the panel.
The protection module covers life, critical-illness and income protection policies.
The data has been collated from providers’ answers to 5,500 questions on their service propositions.
When using the Quality Analyser, advisers key in detailed information based on what their client wants from an auto-enrolment or protection product.
The system produces a detailed report and recommends a selection of products based on the client’s preferences.
Providers will input data for the tool in real time and F&TRC says it will monitor information submitted.
The system can be used also to compare software, including compliance management systems, fin-ancial planning tools, risk profiling and portfolio construction.
F&TRC will sell the tool to providers but offer it free for advisers. It will also sell it as a white-labelled service for advisers to use in their own businesses.
The service can also be used for CPD training with Personal Finance Society members receiving 30 minutes of structured CPD on com-pletion of each chapter.
There are 13 chapters on auto-enrolment topics with training on further subjects being developed and accredited.
F&TRC managing director Ian McKenna says: “We have not cut any corners in building this online comparison tool.
“The amount of provider data used to perform the calculations and comparisons is unparalleled in this industry.
“When an adviser generates a report using Quality Analyser, they will know the output will meet due diligence requirements.”
Personal Finance Society chief executive Keith Richards says: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with F&TRC on this adviser support initiative.”
ADVISER VIEW: Pete Matthew
Showing your audit trail is essential these days so anything that can make that onerous job easier so much the better. Ian McKenna has a great
reputation in the industry for being at the forefront of technology and knowing his stuff.
Pete Matthew is managing director of Jacksons Wealth Management
ADVISER VIEW: Peter Chadborn
Advisers will never complain if they have access to a free service.
A comparison tool based on quality instead of price is very welcome. Many advisers focus too much on price, particularly in the protection market. It is important to check the quality of products and advisers could be doing their clients a disservice by making price the most important factor. They may also do themselves a disservice because if they sell on price, they will lose on price.
The F&TRC has a good pedigree on technology so the system it has produced deserves to be looked at carefully. If advisers can use this tool to tailor client preferences to offer them a better choice, it will be valuable.
The ultimate test is whether the adviser believes the data submitted by the provider. If the provider says it does something but the adviser thinks it is not done very well, it could be questioned.
To have that amount of detail, as with any research software, it will inevitably rely heavily on provider data.
Peter Chadborn is director at Plan Money