How planning software will help you through FoFA

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According to the 2012 Investment Trends Planning Software Report, XPLAN is rated the top Australian planning application for 2012, increasing the functionality gap over Coin Office 4 and AdviserNETgain.

IRESS managing director Andrew Walsh says XPLAN aims to take out the inefficiency that comes with increased regulation, as planning software focuses on FoFA functionality.

“A lot of the FoFA demands add inefficiency to the adviser practice, or to the back-office…so what would be very complex manually, we’ve automated to a large degree through the implementation of technology,” he says.

The main demands, Walsh says, are the increased disclosure obligations planners are facing. “Post-FoFA advisers are really pushed to disclose the fees they receive and the natural question for clients is ‘what is the service I’m getting for those fees?”. This has led to a client service package model approach.

He says there is a concerted energy from advisers to model client interaction on a service level or set of service standards. They are using software to track these throughout the year so that when it’s time to disclose fees, they’re doing it in the context of the services provided.

A lot of the activity in the lead up to FoFA has also been around how to represent services to clients and how to value-add, he said. “Even the interaction of various social media channels can be inefficient and hard to keep up with…so we’ve done some work to embed social media in XPLAN, which provides a consolidated tool to the adviser to keep up to date with what’s happening with that client and to engage with them more readily and more efficiently.”

In 2013 mobile and tablet technology will be a big focus for planning software, in direct response to what clients are asking for, says Walsh. “There’s no doubt that clients of financial advisers are mobile, and advisers want to engage with them in that form…also more and more advisers are using tablets as a core part of their lives and interactions with clients.”

The Investment Trends Planning Software Report compared eight applications: AdvisorLogic, AdviserNETgain, Coin Office, Macquarie Visor Desktop, MidWinter, MoneyOne, n-link and XPLAN.