Changing technology providers is often seen as a major upheaval for adviser firms. However, in 2017, Redworth Caledonian discovered that a switch to Iress and Xplan was not only painless but hugely beneficial to the business.
So what led the Bishop Auckland-based advisory firm to change its technology supplier? Essentially, Redworth Caledonian wanted to grow the business in terms of assets under management and continue to offer high levels of service to clients but without immediately increasing company headcount. "We realised that to achieve this goal, our back-office system needed to do much more. The system at the time offered limited functionality and failed to justify the on-going cost.
We knew we needed to get more out of our back-office system. A lack of training and effective technical advice meant that the system from our previous supplier was doing little more than providing a data base and work flow generator.
Redworth Caledonian discovered that a switch to Iress and Xplan was not only painless but hugely beneficial to the business.
"The way it was set up was no longer specifically relevant to our business processes and the fact that the system was not user friendly meant it was difficult to make the necessary changes to keep it up to date” commented Tristan Burd, Business Development Manager at Redworth Caledonian.
However, the problems were not just product related.
“We tried to arrange additional training on the system but found that this did not give us the practical advice we needed while telephone support was ineffective”
One of Redworth Caledonian’s priorities following their switch to Iress was to improve the process of reviewing client plans. Xplan now allows them to have data links with all their various providers with up-to-date values, and over time this will also enable them to create merge reports with Time Weighted Return figures.
It was also important that the new system provide more in-depth management information in terms of revenue flows and profitability of different segments of Redworth Caledonian’s client book. With Xplan, the business can now create far more sophisticated merge documents and reports which is saving days’ worth of admin time re-keying data. This has allowed the company to run its fund switching process much more efficiently and be able to handle targeted business development campaigns focusing on specific sections of its’ client base.
To realise future growth ambitions in terms of both client numbers and assets under management (ensuring at the same time high-quality service levels), the switch to Iress and Xplan was seen as pivotal.
In choosing its new technology provider, Redworth Caledonian conducted a rigorous review of all the providers in the market place before selecting Iress as the preferred partner. Burd, provides further insight to the selection process, “The fact that Iress is independent and a dedicated tech provider was certainly a consideration for us. The other major factor is that Iress is probably one of the only dedicated tech providers with sufficient size to maintain the data links and keep up to date with changing regulation.”
With regard to Xplan itself, the system offered Redworth Caledonian a huge amount of functionality but was clean and user friendly. The ability to customise the system and tailor it to the firm’s business processes was particularly attractive.
The fact that Xplan could offer integrated solutions to so many of our business needs was another benefit since integrated systems typically offer greater efficiency. For example, the cash flow module is really impressive and something we are making valuable use of.
Firstly, the potential to efficiently service a greater number of clients without increasing staff levels. Secondly, the dynamics of business growth mean standardised processes and procedures become ever-more important. Burd explains “We have achieved a more consistent and higher quality level of execution amongst some of our more repetitive business tasks since moving to Xplan, we can now automate certain processes that previously were costly and laborious.”
Redworth Caledonian has already seen a vast improvement in the reports available since moving to Xplan, particularly in terms of the reliability of RMAR reporting. Well supported by the Iress implementation team, the company is currently finalising implementation of the Xplan revenue management module which has already been helpful in improving their understanding of their business revenue breakdown across different product types and providers. In terms of the transition from one back-office system to another, the data migration and setting up the site all went smoothly. The company achieved a good degree of functionality within one month allowing it to function as a business as finer points were added over time.
We have highlighted improved functionality but what about the level of customer support Redworth Caledonian has received from their new provider?
Burd is unequivocal in his praise. “The support from Iress has been fantastic. Having knowledgeable support staff at the end of the phone means the vast majority of our queries are resolved quickly.”
The support from Iress has been fantastic. Having knowledgeable support staff at the end of the phone means the vast majority of our queries are resolved quickly.
“For more technical solutions the support from our dedicated implementation consultant has been excellent. Our account manager is very responsive meaning that any potential problems cause minimum disruption to the business.”
The high-level support has been ongoing, not just in relation to set up. To improve knowledge of the system and allow certain elements to be customised, Redworth Caledonian arranged some consultancy days which proved highly advantageous. The feedback on the training and on-going support provided on technical issues in this area was hugely positive.
Overall, Redworth Caledonian’s experience with Xplan has been hugely positive too. Burd sums up the company’s sentiments
What we have achieved and what the system has allowed us to do in comparison to our previous ways of working has been very impressive and we are excited to develop our use of Xplan further and hopefully continue to increase the efficiency of our business processes.
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