Intelliflo has cemented its position as one of the leading suppliers of client management software to adviser firms in recent years. Nearly 2,000 firms put it at the heart of their operations.
This makes the company’s annual conferences in Manchester and London go-to events for anyone with an interest in industry technology. For those unable to attend, this column will summarise what you missed.
The day comprised a number of key announcements around additional functionality and important new services being put in place. Intelliflo’s recent strategy has been to expand the functionality of its own software, while also building detailed integ-rations with other specialist soft-ware suppliers. Over the last year, it has developed a range of APIs which make such third-party integration both easier and more effective.
This gives customers the ability to pick and choose their preferred suppliers for different components. For instance, you can use one of Intelliflo’s integrated third parties, such as Distribution Technology, Evalue or iPipeline, if you do not like its own option in a particular area.
There was a strong focus on what the firm is doing to help advisers reach the 4.5 million consumers that want to receive affordable advice. Central to this is its automated advice proposition and further enhancements to its Personal Finance Portal. This includes a new user interface, improving the experience for the end customer. Many more items can now be accessed from a single click.
There are also additional capabilities for advisers to select which elements of the portal they want to deploy to different clients. They can now offer a limited service to clients where they have only a small amount of information and more content to those they are confident they hold the latest data for. It provides greater control over branding too, so individual advisers within the same firm can be identified.
Advisers were strongly urged to take advantage of the secure messaging capability within the Personal Finance Portal, rather than use traditional email. This is an important warning more broadly. Any adviser still using traditional unencrypted email is putting their clients at enormous risk.
Another important initiative announced was with regards to the launch of its Customer Success team; a free service designed to ensure users get the best possible return on their investment in its software.
Lots of advisers say great things about the benefits of Intelliflo but, at the same time, I also hear many suggesting they find the user interface complex or that they only use small parts of the system, for example.
Setting up this team is part of Intelliflo’s approach to addressing such situations. It is also tracking the more than one billion clicks a year that users make in its system, as well as adding further adviser forums and customer user groups. These will complement the free e-learning services deployed last year.
When I hear advisers complain their software does not work well for them, all too often it is clear after further discussion that there has been a lack of training.
But adviser firms do not like paying for training, so having a free e-learning solution is a great compromise. Ideally, this should be just an interim step, though. If a user benefits from the e-learning course, it is probably worth spending money on one-to-one training.
Meanwhile, Intelliflo also announced the forthcoming launch of its own version of an App Store. From September, this will enable users to select a range of third-party software which has been integrated with the core Intelliflo product. Seven Investment Management, O&M Systems, CashCalc and Synaptic Software are just a few of the 60 firms currently working to deploy software via this route.
It is great to see Intelliflo evolving its product and working to enhance advisers’ return on investment. The number of high quality software options open to advisers has increased greatly in the last year. With the changes announced at this round of conferences, Intelliflo proves it should continue to be one of the key players to consider when undertaking a review.
Ian McKenna is director of the Finance & Technology Research Centre