Marcus Price

In an overhaul of the business, Iress has announced a 10 per cent staff reduction, refreshed leadership team, and the divestment of its Managed Fund Administration and platform services.

In an update on Thursday morning, Iress said the MFA and platforms businesses, originally part of the acquisition of OneVue, is no longer strategically aligned to the future of the company which wants to be a neutral player in the platforms arena.

Iress CEO Marcus Price tells Professional Planner the MFA and platform business was part of the digitally invested infrastructure business strategy the company initially thought was a necessary part of producing an end-to-end digital experience.

However, he adds this no longer appropriate with the Connectivity Network having been launched late last year which aims improve integration between tech providers.

“The difference is now we have that participation with other parties like Praemium, CFS and others who are signed up [on the Connectivity Network] and ready to work on it,” Price says.

“In that sense it’s no longer necessary. It complicates us participating in the interconnectivity part of the industry, so we want to provide a connectivity platform between all of the advisers using Xplan and all the various broking networks.”

Finding new connections

Iress announced the Connectivity Network last November which included memorandums of understanding signed by CFS and MetLife Australia, with MLC Life and Praemium coming on board in February.

“We’re competing with the people we need to be part of the network and it was complicating the take-up of the infrastructure piece – the part that we felt was the most important and solved the biggest problem for advisers,” Price says.

“We’re not going to be a product owner or wrap to make sure people are happy to participate [in the connectivity network].

“It makes us Switzerland,” Price says, referring to the historical neutrality of the landlocked European nation.

“We just want the network to exist; we don’t want to be a participant in our own network. It’s confusing strategically to some of our customers like Netwealth, HUB24 and others. We don’t want to compete with those guys. They’ll do what they do, and we’ll do what we do.”

Peter Worn, the joint managing director of wealth tech strategy specialist Finura Group, says the MFA and platform business is a significant roadblock to the Connectivity Network that has been moved.

Peter Worn

“You can’t be a participant and a market maker,” Worn says. “That was something I could never personally understand about the strategy. It’s still going to be a challenge for Iress to get all of the platforms to collaborate the right way.”