(Pictured: Damian Moloney)
Frontier Advisors has announced the launch of its Partners Platform technology, which the consulting firm believes moves the practice into a ‘new era of collaborative consulting’. It is a suite of analytical tools and research databases.
The Partners Platform was foreshadowed at last year’s Frontier client conference in Melbourne. It was previously used only by Frontier consultants but is now available to clients and other subscribers. They can access the platform through a secure online portal.
Frontier has also foreshadowed further development of the platform based on client preferences and feedback, with a number of components specifically focused on providing technology for clients to run their own investment functions.
The platform includes Frontier’s manager and investment research library plus client investment administration tools (Mercury), a portfolio modelling and analytics tool (Prism), a real assets analytics system (RADIAS), and a “still under construction” library of publically sourced general research articles, tools and papers (Reading Room).
While some competitor advisory firms, and other providers, provide access to comparable research and analytical tools, Frontier believes the integration between the individual tools, real-time updates, and aggregation onto a single platform is unique in the market.
But the most significant aspect of the move is to open Frontier’s own technology and research to clients on a real-time and interactive basis, embracing the shift of asset owners wanting to perform their own research and analysis rather than purely relying on the advice of their consultant. With new tools and ideas being developed in conjunction with investors, Frontier claims this is collaborative consulting at its most advanced.
Damian Moloney, Frontier’s chief executive, said: “This is the conclusion of three years of development work by Frontier, with the firm having identified that the best way for consultants to work with clients is to be as open and collaborative as possible. The days of asset consultants being the sole source of investment wisdom for funds are long gone – some of the larger superannuation funds now have investment teams bigger than advisory firms and with a lot of very good internal capability.
“Competitive and regulatory pressures are demanding all funds and trustees increase their investment capacity and know-how, and devote more time to compliance, governance and due diligence. So, as advisors our role needs to change to be collaborative and open, rather than instructional, and to be a key and interactive support of our client’s knowledge base, research and analysis for their investment and business solutions.”
The decision to provide open access to the intellectual property housed within an advisory firm would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. Moloney believes it is Frontier’s size and experience that allows it to shift the consulting model in this way.
“As one of Australia’s largest and oldest investment advisory firms, we are large enough and experienced enough to fund and deliver these types of advanced solutions for our clients.
“We believe investors now expect their advisor to support them and work alongside them, rather than simply provide templated responses, which some firms have relied on.
The Partners Platform doesn’t replace an investment advisor, but it changes the way clients can work with their consultant. “It gives them powerful internal research and analytical power, and the chance to challenge and explore ideas with their advisor. Certainly, that’s the new way we’ve been working with our clients and the Partners Platform is the next step in that revolution towards a client-driven operating model,” Moloney said.