Ian McKenna: Intelliflo portal can shift advice perceptions

Early last month, Intelliflo released version two of its Personal Finance Portal, giving advisers more powerful ways to interact with clients.

PFP2 allows more frequent client engagement without actually having to meet with or call them. This is achieved using web services and apps to deliver a steady flow of information, triggering more financial discussions and reinforcing the value of the adviser.

The new service has been designed to provide a more attractive and comprehensive user interface. It allows users to manage long-term, medium-term and, in the case of the premium version, short-term financial assets.

Many in the industry are cynical about the extent to which consumers will use such online services. However, Intelliflo has hard evidence to demonstrate that they do. Of the 70,000 consumers using its current (web-based) personal finance portal, 53 per cent access it at least once a week. The new service provides a fully responsive mobile version: an Android app is already available and the iOS version is now only waiting for Apple to put it in its App store.

The standard version of the portal is now included as part of the regular licence fee, which has been increased by £9.50 a month, allowing advisers to reflect the long-term contracts they have arranged.

Users of the PFP Premium service also receive personal finance aggregation data sourced via Yodlee. This does incur an additional charge, which can be structured in one of three ways depending on the adviser’s preference. If the adviser choses to pay for the additional service for clients, it costs 90p per client per month.

Alternatively, if individual clients select this option, it increases to £1, although discounts apply for quarterly and annual arrangements. The third option can actually provide an additional income for the adviser: firms can choose to add a margin to the monthly fee, which is then collected by Intelliflo, with the agreed amount being paid back to the adviser.

I am a huge believer in the value of aggregation services, which have only previously been available to advisers via MoneyHub/Your Money, Sammedia and True Potential.

Historically, banks always had a unique position in holding a customer’s current account data, perhaps their savings account data and, while they did not have the values of any long-term investments, they could see what regular outgoings were being made in that respect.

For clients wanting to take advantage of PFP Premium, advisers will be able to provide them with a comprehensive summary of their day-to-day finances as well as their long-term arrangements. Putting all this in one place will make it the client’s natural go-to for an overview of their financial affairs.

A major feature of the updated software is the Insights service, which highlights information on a regular basis that might be of specific interest.

One example is progress towards a particular financial goal. This could be a long-term issue such as retirement or something short term, like saving for a holiday. Insights can also be set up to update the client’s net worth or the value and percentage change of investments over a period.

In the PFP Premium version it can also identify income and expenses; for example, the top five expenses in a weekly summary. This enables the client to better understand where they are spending money and, if they want to, how to make adjustments. This helps advisers make a difference in the client’s day-to-day lives so the relationship is about more than just long-term savings.

The Insights are delivered to the client’s device of choice, which is increasingly likely to be their mobile. This further reinforces the adviser relationship and brand.

It is important to recognise the potential impact in terms of value that Intelliflo’s service is delivering to the wider financial services industry.

Nearly 1,500 advice firms use Intelliflo as their core system, representing around 10,000 advisers offering these services to 7.6 million clients free of charge.

A significant part of the adviser community now has a really powerful service from which they can touch their client’s lives far more frequently. These firms have the power to change the way their clients think about financial advice.

Ian McKenna is director of Finance & Technology Research Centre