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Pressure is mounting on The Exchange to stay independent

IFAs and technology experts say it is vital The Exchange stays independent in the face of a combined Assuresoft and m-link operation after the Misys/DBS take-over deal.

Assuresoft is thought likely to be the dominant portal in the merger alth-ough Misys says it will combine features from both to create a new site which gives fact-finds, needs analysis, quotations and new business transactions.

The Exchange and Syn-aptic Systems are now the two major independent IFA portals.

Specific details of the merger will not be released until four to six weeks after the deal is finalised, which is not expected to be completed until late August.

Experts say the two companies need to make their strategy clear very quickly or rivals could clean up amid the uncertainty.

Cap Gemini Ernst & Young vice-president and head of insurance services Shaun Crawford says: “Assuresoft will come out on top – it would be foolish to let its technology disappear. They will have to work quickly to articulate a clear strategy to win support of IFAs and providers.”

Financial Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna says: “It is now more important than ever to have a strong alternative in The Exchange. It is the largest independent technology provider. A healthy Exchange is even more critical.”

Exchange FS corporate development director Jim Gaskin says: “We have turned our back on owning distribution. Our raison d&#39être is to power other people. We are fighting the corner for independence and IFAs respect us as an independent portal.”

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