BT Financial Group has picked up the award for Best Use of IT in Private Banking or Wealth Management at the international Banking Technology Awards in London for its Panorama client platform.
“It’s always great to get external recognition,” John Shuttleworth, BTFG’s general manager of platforms and investments, said last week. “Panorama is a significant strategic investment for us, setting ourselves up for the future. Over the last four years we’ve been building a lot of the core infrastructure to set up the business for the next 20 years.”
A lot has been written about the cost of Panorama – variously estimated at between $400-700 million – and its functionality, as the first mainstream platform to also include SMAs and to have a full-service system for SMSF administration, including setting up an SMSF.
In fact, Shuttleworth says, BTFG doesn’t refer to Panorama as a “platform” but, rather, an “operating system”, such are the breadth and depth of its capabilities, including workplace interfaces and seamless integration for audit and tax software in the case of SMSFs.
The final piece is a superannuation platform, set to be put in place in the new year, which will sit on top of the investment platform.
Shuttleworth is particularly pleased with the award because it was for “use of IT”, not just for the IT itself. “We looked at what had actually been built in the market and how technology has been applied,” he said.
“We spoke with everyone involved – advisers, investors, other service providers… We are trying to ensure that we have the lowest costs in the market so we can sustain margin pressure. We spend a lot of time looking at what’s in the market, looking at start-ups and what they have to offer… We have a really modern platform, with an open system, which will be continually upgraded. It’s all accessible by mobile devices and integrated with banking systems.”
Panorama includes a range of management tools, such as calculators and a complete ability to set up model portfolios. “Many advisors use other software,” Shuttleworth said, “so we wanted to cater for that.”
He said that by the end of February, with the addition of the superannuation platform, Panorama would be about 98 per cent complete for the “advised” section.
BTFG is building an online corporate actions service as well, to try to get rid of one of the last paper-based intensive areas in investments. It can sometimes take days for investors to be informed of buybacks, for instance, and then days more to act on them.
It often frustrates companies doing IPOs to get onto the platform in time for advisors to recommend their clients invest. IPOs, including the increasingly popular listed investment companies, usually remain open to investment for only a few weeks after ASIC approves the prospectus.
Panorama is also integrating mobile applications into its core messaging system for advisors to help speed things up.
The IT provider to Panorama is Avaloq.
– Greg Bright