What does open architecture mean for financial advice?

By Nick Eatock, Executive Chairman, Intelliflo Ltd
Find me on: 12-Sep-2018 15:15:46

Open architecture is a philosophy that we have always subscribed to. In the financial advice profession it is usually attributed to platforms who work with the entire fund management industry. With technology playing an increasingly prevalent role in our industry, however, the phrase ‘open architecture’ has a much wider connotation and is now itself playing a more prominent role in the discussions we have with clients, colleagues and advice firms.

what does open architecture mean for financial advice

In short, open architecture is the adoption of a framework which enables one system, in this case our Intelligent Office business management software, to partner with - to integrate with – all product providers, fund managers, retail (wrap) platforms and other software systems.

In the case of Intelligent Office, this means that our software integrates with any partners and providers which can add value to our overall proposition. We are not restricted to working with the tools that we develop and offer through our software, rather we have opened the floor to developers from across the industry and beyond to interact with it.

This is all part of our effort to make Intelligent Office the best possible system that it can be for its users. We don’t believe in closing off our software and we offer any tools which our clients need or which can enhance their advice proposition and process.

So, rather than develop our own, one size fits all solution to something such as cashflow modelling, for example, we make it easy for providers of cashflow modelling solutions to integrate with Intelligent Office and give our clients the opportunity to hand pick the best solution for them. This philosophy rings true across the board, as we have a multitude of partners covering providers, platforms, valuations and compliance through to co-browsing, document sharing and suitability reports.

With a firm’s business management system playing such a fundamental role in the advice process, we believe that it is of real benefit to a firm in being able to develop the system that it needs, not just use the system that it is given. No two firms operate in identical fashion, so why should they use identical software across their business?

We have over 450 integrations (direct and indirect) available in Intelligent Office and our users are free to use as many or as few as they wish. We have also launched the iO Store this year, to make access to our integrations partners even more straightforward – firms can visit the store through Intelligent Office and simply download the functionality that they wish to add to it. It works in much the same way as installing an app on a mobile phone, with the downloaded tool pulling information through to client records in Intelligent Office.

This means that we can further embrace the concept of open architecture. Our Open API enables developers to interact with our software and design apps around it. It even means that our clients can develop their own apps to function in Intelligent Office.

We have made a firm commitment to this open policy and it has been a guiding principle since our inception. The more open and interactive we can be, the more flexible our system is. This is what is helping financial advice firms to be truly nimble in the face of the multitude of technology offerings on the market.

There is a growing body of evidence, including our own eAdviser Index, which demonstrates those advice firms embracing and engaging with technology are realising greater efficiencies and greater profits.

If you’re interested in implementing new and innovative technology in your business, then speak to your account manager, or we’d be happy to show you around our system.