Q&A: Taking platform integration to another level

3 min read 19 Apr 23

John Allen, Head of Key Accounts, explains the journey the M&G Wealth Platform is on to connect systems and processes to maximise efficiency for advisers. 

So, integration – I guess you’re talking about back-office systems?

John Allen: Ah! That’s what everyone immediately thinks when you say the word ‘integration’ in relation to platforms. And, yes, we’ve been doing a lot of that.

For example, we’ve fully integrated with software provider Iress to provide advisers’ back-office systems with a complete history of transactions on the M&G Wealth Platform.

So how are you looking to take integration a step further?

Integrations are all about the effective use of data across different systems and making processes easier and more efficient. So in addition to working on integrating platform data externally we’ve also been looking at how we can benefit advisers and  clients with better use of data within our internal processes and systems.

We believe that integration is about using client data on platform as efficiently as possible to aid the adviser and the advice process. That’s what we’re focusing on.

For example?

The most obvious example is our Digital SIPP, which will be available soon to all advisers. Data put into a SIPP application flows straight through onto the platform. There’s no need to rekey information from one system to another, or to rekey from a hard-copy application form. This results in a huge timesaving for the new business process and less risk  for data errors to enter the system and clog up the process further down the line.

Also, the information is input by the advice firm, not our admin team, so the firm has complete control over what goes into the system.

Plus the new digital SIPP asks for client information such as bank details and occupation upfront, which helps get client verification and anti-money laundering checks automatically completed as part of the digital new business submission process. So the whole process becomes much more linear – removing a lot of the traditional to-ing and fro-ing asking for more forms to fill in any client data gaps.

And the digital SIPP is making pension transfers easier too?

That’s right – all that data from the SIPP application process also flows through to the pension transfer process so most of the information needed to initiate a pension transfer is pre-populated. Once again presenting increased efficiency and time saving for advisers and ultimately their clients. This also works for ISA and GIA transfers as well.

The Introduction of these integrated journeys such as automated Transfers In and  Integration with Transunion for client verification really improves our transfer initiation process. On a recent multiple transfer case where all of the transfers could be done electronically we’ve seen the turnaround time drop from say around up to 10 days, where we would historically be keying things on, chasing forms and other providers, to only 17 minutes.

Another benefit is the pension transfer data is automatically fed into a tracker tool on the Adviser Dashboard. This allows advisers to follow the status of each pension transfer request. They no longer have to call to get updates and can quickly take action if they see anything is held up.

What other integration improvements are on the horizon?

Illustrate & Apply for SIPPs is coming soon. Data put into the SIPP illustration system will go immediately through to the SIPP application system. This Illustrate & Apply system will provide one consolidated quote covering both Mifid & KFI requirements, which is a two quote process currently. So, again, time saving through integration - there’s no need for rekeying and demonstrably more efficient in the new business process.

In addition, model portfolios will be integrated into the SIPP journey so an adviser can pick their preferred model and the underlying assets will automatically feed into the illustration.

We are also introducing improved illustration templates with colour and graphics to improve the end customer experience.

How about other wrappers?

For ISAs, we’ve also adapted the current online process so we can automated  moving money in (and out) using Altus Gateway.  

So it will be possible to set up a range of tax wrappers for clients completely online using digital processes and signatures.

It’s important to understand that these new digital SIPP, ISA and GIA journeys are all supported by an integrated DocuSign process. We pay the DocuSign licence so that potentially saves a cost for firms and as they submit a piece of New Business the system sends a pack to the client to sign. No more paper chasing and a strong step towards a sustainable process for us all.

And anything else happening in the back office?

Yes, we have started the work to connect to the Origo Integration Hub as a central repository for all our back office data and files.

Currently, whenever a back-office system or tools provider wants to connect to the M&G Wealth Platform, we have to conduct a bespoke integration. Using Origo, each provider will instead be able to go into the Integration Hub to retrieve what they need from us to connect, populate and update their systems themselves.

That should make it much easier when advice firms are looking to put together their own “best-of-breed” back-office ecosystem from lots of different providers.

Looking further ahead, this sort of technology and integration is exactly what is required to effectively support the Pension Dashboard when it arrives

Ultimately, what should all this integration mean for advisers?

It’s all about using data – from client data to asset data – as efficiently and smartly as possible to make the whole advice process more efficient, more robust and simply easier.

Yes, in some cases, it does mean doing things differently – such as inputting more client data upfront when setting up our digital SIPP. But ultimately, smarter integration will free up advice firms to do what they do best – help plan and deliver great outcomes for their clients.