Seven things to look for in a a new research provider

By Integration Partner FE
Find me on: LinkedIn 25-Jan-2016 11:12:53


Investment research today involves more than looking at Money Marketing with an old ruler and a dry highlighter. The financial advice industry is now supported by a wide variety of cutting-edge research technology that is designed to help advisers with the knowledge and analysis they need to give sound investment advice to their clients.

Buying and onboarding new technology can be tricky, with the wide array of options available, and often deciding between the duds and the game changers can prove a considerable challenge.

Below we look at a few key questions to ask before adopting a new piece of investment research technology.

Is the solution web-based?

If a provider is trying to sell you something that isn’t web based, then we’d suggest that you look away immediately. Gone are the days where you had the luxury of relying on a 'master machine' to crunch the numbers. With Web 2.0, it is crucial to stay ahead of the curve by investing in a solution that can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

Is the provider credible and well recognised?

The research technology you select is only as good as the data it draws on. We recommend conducting extensive due diligence on the provider's integrity and legacy in data collection and provision. Solutions that get both the technology and data elements right are few and far between- use industry award recognitions and Quality Management System as guide for quality.

How easily can it be built into my business model?

Profitability Profitability Profitability - is the mantra. It's easy to lose sight of your goals when inundated with choice. Technology firms often build comprehensive case studies and white papers on how their solutions have helped small- medium or larger adviser firms to meet specific objectives. However, always ask for a free trial and make your own full evaluation before purchase.

How easily can it be integrated to my existing systems?

The last thing your paraplanner and/or admin staff want is more work! Picking a research tool that integrates with your existing technology will make life a lot easier. Say for instance that you are very happy with your back office system - picking a research solution that seamlessly integrates to it will save you time and (more often than not) money.

Does the provider offer ongoing training and support?

Technology does not come cheap and without the right training you will find that you’re not getting the most value from the tool you have invested in. A good software provider will deliver ongoing support as a part of their proposition. At the end of day, you are an adviser not a tech geek.

Are the outputs flexible?

Pause for a moment to think about your clients. Pick a solution that provides a wide variety of dynamic reporting tools that give you choice and flexibility about how you present your analysis to your clients. Smart reporting can help you educate clients, demonstrate the value of your advice and staying compliant.

Am I duplicating?

Over the last few years the financial technology industry has seen the development of 'ecosystems' where service providers do more than their core function and try to draw together lots of elements of the advice process. These ecosystems are beneficial to the provider as they help sell more but for the user this often means paying for secondary functionality that they don't really need. We recommend you carefully evaluate each offering of your existing providers to ensure you are getting ‘best of breed’ and avoiding duplication.

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