The mortgage advice industry is now in far better shape than it was just a few years ago but when it comes to innovation I cannot help feeling it is the poor relation compared with the investment advice market. There is far less competition in terms of leading-edge solutions to meet consumers’ needs.
While investment advisers are spoilt for choice with highly innovative new apps and client portals being delivered by Creative Technology, Distribution Technology, Intelliflo and True Potential to name just a few, two technology suppliers have dominated the mortgage market for several years.
Fresh competition must be both welcome and healthy and this is exactly what is being delivered by 360 Lifecycle, an offering that has already been embraced by some of the biggest names in mortgage advice.
What really appeals to me about this system is the way it can touch all parts of the distribution chain. At the heart is a core network administration system. Equally, individual advice firms can select from a range of components inclu-ding CRM, accounts, sales, pipeline, management information and marketing to support their advice processes and client relationships.
Firms can choose the modules they want and overlay these onto their existing solution or take the full package. Individual advisers can be provided with apps to show their business written, targets and diary activity.
The service 360 Lifecycle has been built by the software division of Lifetime group. Like an increasing number of the most successful software solutions in the UK and internationally, it was created because an advice business could not find an existing technology solution that really met their needs. It speaks volumes about the quality of their offering that Intrinsic, the Mortgage Advice Bureau and Home Loan Partnership, all competing advice firms, have adopted some
or all the service.
The system is integrated with iPipeline and its Solution Builder, and XRAE services is being added over the summer. In addition, Mortgage27 can be included as a sourcing engine as well as Unisure personal lines and Sortrefer for conveyancing.
2015 is the year when advice businesses are reinventing themselves and focusing on how they deliver their services digitally to their clients as well as using more traditional means. 360 Lifecycle’s MyFinanceCentre client portal is a digital solution to communicate with clients on mortgage and protection.
This facilitates client communication through secure mechanisms, it will show all the products a client has in mortgage, protection and general insurance. It includes a mortgage and protection fact-find, which can be sent to the client at any stage of the process. As with any system, the company is on a journey and there are many more things that could be added.
There is limited wealth management capability but in this area the company will be well advised to partner rather than build. It has great content, which would sit really well side by side with other systems and client portals in the wealth market.
This also provides document storage, quote and apply on travel and pet insurance, and foreign exchange capability. Mortgage calculation, limited wealth projection, protection comparison and property valuation tools are also included. Clients also have access to iOS and Android native apps with cut-down functionality.
Case tracking can be included for all products but this does have to be populated by the adviser workflow.
For reasons it would take too long to explore here, no software supplier in the UK has ever, to my knowledge, tried to build a software solution to address the needs of mortgage, protection and investment business equally. As an alternative, specialists from each area should collaborate to deliver deep integrations between their offerings.
Overall, 360 Lifecycle has a great deal to offer to all parts of the mortgage advice process. Indeed, any organisation in that area would be well advised to compare it with their existing suppliers. The service would also be highly complementary to many similar systems designed for the investment market. This provides an excellent opportunity for best in breed suppliers to collaborate and deliver an holistic client portal solution to address the needs of investment, protection and advisers in a way that has never been achieved previously.
Ian McKenna is director of Finance & Technology Research Centre