Geoff Rogers

Iress will work to better connect platforms and insurance providers in Xplan with the creation of a ‘connectivity network’ and will implement the initiative into the advice software by mid-2023.

The move comes as the advice industry clamours for better integration between different software services.

Additionally, advisers will be able to provide trade instructions to platforms via Xplan, removing the need to leave that environment to implement the advice.

Iress investment infrastructure commercial director Geoff Rogers tells Professional Planner the advisers and licensees they work are dealing with a couple of major issues which was the catalyst for the initiative.

“The cost of advice is increasing and the time it takes to provide that advice is increasing,” Rogers says. “Clearly there’s problem to solve.”

Rogers hopes the increased efficiency will allow advisers to take on more clients, further reducing the advice gap.

“That’s a problem to deal with… how do we make a difference? The one that’s most profound is to find a way to better link the advice generating technology through to the underlying platform and ensures that are used in a practice,” Rogers says.

Rogers adds deepening that connectivity to allow information to flow more freely could substantially change how long it takes to give advice. “You could liberate a lot of the industry with this capability,” he says.

The focus will be on advisers and licensees initially, but Iress is open to expanding it to other industry participants like industry super funds if there is interest.

Timeline

The core to the network will be the delivery of a new cloud-based infrastructure known as Xplan Affinity which is designed to help platforms and insurance providers integrate directly into Xplan.

However, the connectivity network is step one of the process which seeks industry partners to design the system.

“This is something you can’t do overnight which is why we need a connectivity network and we need this technology to come in over time,” Rogers says.

“We’ve had engaging conversations with industry participants. People are at different points but there’s a genuine desire to get this to work.”

CFS and MetLife Australia have signed Memorandums of Understanding in which they agree to collaborate on the design and creation of the network.

The first iteration of the upgrade is planned for mid-2023, involving bringing in technology from the UK which will focus on client onboarding and accounting opening, as well as trade messaging to travel from Xplan into platforms to allow advice to be executed and orders to be placed without leaving Xplan.

“It requires two things for this to work,” Rogers says. “It’s in part about the technology, it’s also in part about industry leading participants also being part of the process of building this connectivity and making it easy.”

The second iteration will focus on account maintenance and ongoing reporting which will be ready in 2024.

“Data that goes from the Xplan advice tech through to platforms and insurers and back,” Rogers says. “It will go both ways,” Rogers says. “That’s the mature version.”

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