Legacy is a word you will often hear in financial services quite simply because a lot of businesses have been around for a long time and, particularly in the technology space, many firms have been working with the same systems for a very long time.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this per se, indeed there is much to be said for familiarity – most people (regardless of their walk of life) know the things they like, and like the things they know. This is the same in financial services and is perhaps the reason why many firms choose not to build new systems from scratch – when the technology allows them to – but prefer to ‘bolt on’ new additions and updates to existing systems.
Certainly in the adviser part of the market there is a tendency to do this and, again while it doesn’t require much learning on the part of the adviser, it can make a system very unwieldy, very quickly. Indeed, given that technology moves on at such a pace it can often be a false economy to continue with this strategy. Think of the tablet explosion we have witnessed over the past few years – many older systems are not tablet friendly at all and these businesses who are not responding to these changes are (in my view) storing up plenty of problems for the future.
This is a real problem for mortgage and protection advisers in particular – and is one of the reasons why Revolution was solely developed for the mortgage and protection market. Over the years we have talked to hundreds of AR firms who are specialists in this space but are/were members of networks and had to use and utilise systems which were developed for an entirely different adviser space – in all probability the wealth management market.
Again, instead of building something from scratch for mortgage/protection advisers those networks chose to wheel out the same system but with additional mortgage/protection add-ons. Needless to say the systems concerned were hardly likely to set the world alight for these firms and, in fact, were (and are) often viewed as much more of a hindrance than a help. The functionality tends to be very limited and, with every regulatory change or market development, the systems groan under the pressure of their sticking plaster fixes.
Far better we think to provide AR firms and advisers with something which is completely fit for purpose and that understands exactly what marketplace these advisers are working in and therefore what they need from their system. Firms that have joined us have called it a ‘breath of fresh air’ and have often questioned how other networks – particularly the so-called ‘big boys’ - can get away with the technology they are offering.
The important point is however that this technology is out there and available – advisers can vote with their feet and secure the systems they deserve rather than having to wallow in the old and cumbersome technology of yesteryear. In this marketplace it pays to be up-to-date and we would urge any adviser struggling under the weight of poor technology to go and look for an alternative – preferably one that was actually built with them in mind.