Group executive, product
03 June 2020
8 min read
Aaron Knowles, group executive for product, talks about how we're making the software you rely on even better and what we're developing to support the digital future of financial services.
A lot of life might be on hold right now but in the tech world, things are moving faster than ever. The coronavirus has made us all far more reliant on technology and, with over half a million users worldwide, we are very aware of the role our software plays in helping to keep a large part of the global financial services industry performing at its best.
It’s not just toilet paper, hand sanitiser and Zoom that have been in high demand. We’ve seen a surge in the use of our software as financial businesses look for ways to stay connected and work effectively, virtually.
Since the world went into lockdown just three months ago, the number of businesses offering our online client engagement software Client Portal has almost doubled and usage is at an all-time high. When we compare April figures with February ones, end-client logins are up 86% and sessions are up 70%.
The adoption of Digital Signatures has also risen rapidly. Users are up 400% and we’ve seen 18 times more digital signatures being done. It's a similar story with the use of the Secure Messaging and Documents functionality within Client Portal which has increased by 138%.
In the trading world where things have been turbulent, to say the least, trade volumes through our retail network in the UK have been 400% above regular volumes. By July, we reckon we will have processed the entire sum of 2019’s volume. Incredible when you think about it.
The fact is, your needs are changing and we’re committed to delivering to those needs, and in better ways. We’ve got a lot to live up to. In April we were named in the 2020 WealthTech100 list as one of the most innovative technology companies transforming the global investment and banking industries and we're going to keep on improving and innovating.
Your needs are changing and we’re committed to delivering to those needs, and in better ways.
COVID-19 hasn’t stopped us from being able to design, develop and deliver software and support your business. We're a global team so we’ve always been geared up to work remotely. We still have scrums, sprints and stand-ups, only now they’re done virtually - while wearing sweatpants. Our agile ways of working means we react quickly when things change in the market. Times like now.
Some people might be using this time to make banana bread. We’re using it to make the Iress software you rely on even better and to fast track some of our development to get the new capability into your hands sooner. Whether it’s one-click Digital Signatures through our Client Portal; a better way for Trigold users to work remotely using Xplan Mortgage; or building the new Superannuation legislation changes into our software at super speed for the Australian market.
Of course other software developments, just like a proper sourdough starter, take a little more engineering work and there’s plenty on our roadmap to tell you about. In deciding what makes it onto our roadmap our priorities are much the same as yours. We know that digital, data and user experience is what’s driving efficiency and better performance in financial services (something you can read more about in Andrew Walsh’s article) which is why we make them our focus.
So let's get to it and tell you what's in store.
As well as fast-tracking some of our development to benefit you immediately in the current COVID-19 climate, data and integrations feature strongly in our roadmap to support the digital future of financial advice and make your business more efficient.
|What we're working on:|
|One-click process for Digital Signatures in Client Portal - available now|
|Android and Apple mobile apps for Client Portal - available now|
|New Xplan integrations we have recently added: Moberate, Pauda, LivePreso, Tiqk, Adviser Forms, Xeppo, Genovo, CashCalc, Voyant, MoneyInfo, O&M|
|New Xplan integrations we are working on: Finametrica, Practify, MyProsperity, Wealth Central, Zoom, LABGroup, Financial Express, Seido, Oxford Risk, Meeco, Nod, Dynamic Planner, AstuteWheel, moneybrilliant, Revex, Scanshare, Streamline ID, Ateb, Goodments, YTML, Greatsoft, Dorey, Volume, FinPal|
|23 new or improved datafeed integrations via IressNet, including three major re-platforms in the UK|
|‘New’ and ‘Review’ digital fact finds in Client Portal|
|Two-factor authentication for log-in to Client Portal|
|Significant UX improvements in Portfolio screens including: faster and easier bulk modelling changes; new performance and risk analysis tools; easier management of client models; faster and enhanced view of transactions|
|New business register added to Xplan|
|Improved and more detailed information to speed up IressNet datafeed reconciliation|
|A new data analytics solution that provides business and operational insights for decision makers|
|Launch of robo advice capability for Investments and Retirement in both Australia and the UK|
|Prime for the UK will be extended beyond reviews to ISA and investment advice followed by retirement adequacy and at-retirement advice|
User experience has been a big focus, particularly in response to your direct feedback. This has led to addressing common pain-points (like password resets) as well as enhancements to the software. We will continue to collaborate with users and make regular improvements throughout the year. Exciting new launches are on the way, plus enhancements to trading that improve efficiency and help to make a seamless transition from legacy to future trading platforms.
|What we're working on:|
|Pro new commands and enhancements including: Market Activity (Winners and Losers); Depth Histogram; New Security Information command; Watchlist advanced highlighting and auto sorting - all available now|
|New advanced charting technology in Pro - available now|
|New mobile trading app|
|Launch of new capabilities for Market Makers and agency brokers (UK)|
|Multiple enhancements to ViewPoint orders and positions to improve trading user experience|
|ViewPoint will dynamically translate text into other languages, including simplified Chinese|
|New Datafeed Manager for distribution of market and financial data (SA)|
|Pro and ViewPoint users will be able to reset their password automatically|
|Trade analytics for EMS clients (UK)|
|Open client accounts and trade directly from our Private Wealth software, Xplan and via SmartHub to any ManCo that is on Silica (SA)|
While it’s been a quiet time for the mortgage and lending industry, we’ve been continuously investing in our lending software to help you through it and to make sure you’re well equipped as the market picks up pace again. There’s a lot of development happening in this area with a focus on driving efficiency and better user experience.
|What we're working on:|
|'Like for Like' Trigold sourcing experience replicated in Xplan Mortgage - available now|
|Knowledge Bank integration for Criteria search in Xplan Mortgage - available now|
|Access to Xplan Mortgage product information via the Iress Community - available now|
|Lender Connect - a major lender live soon and more lenders lined up to go live before the end of the year|
|Mortgage Sales and Originations - enhancements to Direct Channel to support more application types and remove duplication of effort for operations teams|
|User experience improvements to Mortgage Sales and Originations in direct response to user and client feedback|
|Enhanced operational reports for Mortgage Sales and Originations users, with greater insight into case workflow|
Interpreting changing legislation and implementing critical updates to our software has been and will continue to be a priority. We’ve seen increased demand for our Automated Personal Advice and Automated Super Admin software as super funds look for automation and efficiency. Our latest Acurity software release represents a foundational change to our underlying platform to support emerging technology trends and client needs.
|What we're working on|
|Acurity Registry release (v.19) delivers a major redesign of the user interface, a new REST API layer and a foundational alteration to the user model - available now|
|Acurity Registry and Acurity Online support the new pension minimums legislation - available now|
|Acurity Registry supports the new coronavirus compassionate releases - available now|
|Our ebMS messaging service has evolved and been renamed SuperConnector. This offering now enables the transfer of SBR and SuperStream messages between employers, super funds and the ATO - available now|
|Launch of a SuperConnector employer portal for accumulation funds and clearing house capabilities|
|Acurity Registry and SuperConnector gateway support of SuperStream Rollovers v3, including the SMSF Validation Service|
|Automated Super Admin - rollout of rapid channel member alerts|
Since it was launched in March 2019, the Iress Community has proved to be a better way for the people that use our software to more easily and quickly connect with us and other users. We’ve been gradually introducing more users to it including, most recently, Xplan Mortgage and Trigold users and more will be added in the coming months.
We’re constantly working to improve the content across the Iress Community. Look out for:
To find out more about the software we’re developing and how it can benefit your business, get in touch with your Iress account manager. Keep an eye out for further updates from our product team along with invitations to our webinars and live demos direct to your inbox, and stay up to date with all the latest developments via the Iress Community.