Iress Launches UK Wealth Management Division

14 November 2011

• IRESS Selected As Strategic Supplier by Sesame Bankhall Group Largest UK Distribution Network to Deploy XPLAN

• IRESS UK Wealth Management Established with Experienced Local Executive Team

IRESS is pleased to announce the launch of its Wealth Management division in the United Kingdom on the back of its selection as strategic supplier of wealth management advice technology by Sesame Bankhall Group (SBG), the largest distributor of retail financial advice in the UK.

IRESS’ goal is to establish a competitive and comprehensive advice platform to meet the needs of the UK advice market, and over time to build a business similar to its leading wealth management operations in other markets.

The UK division has been initiated with a local management team comprising the directors of the respected financial services consultancy, AT8 Group. This experienced local management team will be responsible for the delivery to SBG, and management and growth of the IRESS business in this strategically important market.

This opportunity will leverage complementary capabilities:

• IRESS’ market leading and differentiated technology;

• IRESS executive team experience, relationships, and knowledge of the UK marketplace through local management; and

• SBG’s significant adviser distribution network and knowledge of local requirements, and commitment to leverage IRESS technology.

These represent a unique set of capabilities to establish and prove local capability from which to build a highly competitive and substantial operation with strong growth prospects.

United Kingdom Wealth Management

The UK wealth management software market is at least twice that of Australia, serviced by a range of niche technology vendors. Advisory networks tend to use a combination of suppliers to meet the range of advice and technology requirements, across which there are varying degrees of integration.

The UK financial advice market is facing a new regulatory regime from 2013 as part of the UK government’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR). RDR will require many advisory firms to change their businesses to operate under fee-based service models. These impacts will require a new generation of software to support fundamental changes in practice management.

IRESS considers this environment an opportunity to leverage its scale, experience and integrated technology suite to differentiate from existing providers and provide a compelling option to distribution networks.

IRESS & Sesame Bankhall Group (SBG)

SBG has been assessing future-ready technology solutions in order to differentiate itself from its competitors, and to address regulatory change and heightened requirements for its advice network. SBG regards the UK’s Retail Distribution Reform (RDR) as a strategic opportunity for financial advisory firms to evolve their businesses, but has recognised that to achieve this in a cost effective and efficient manner, investment in technology is essential.

Over a similar timeframe, IRESS has been encouraged by the opportunity for its integrated product range to meet forward-looking demands of UK advice networks, based on feedback and workshops, to assess functional capability, flexibility, and the direct applicability of XPLAN in the UK. On this basis, identification of a seed client in support of an organic entry has been a key objective.

Following a review of global solutions, incorporating a formal tender process, SBG has selected IRESS’ wealth management platform, XPLAN, as the best suited to meet its short and longer term strategic objectives for the 12,000 direct and indirect advisers it services across the UK.

IRESS and SBG have entered a long-term strategic supply agreement where XPLAN will be deployed as SBG’s next generation advice platform. SBG provides IRESS with first-hand experience and knowledge of local requirements that will focus the delivery of XPLAN in the UK. In addition, the partnered commitment to implement XPLAN (commencing later in 2012) will establish IRESS’ capability and relevance in the region.

Commenting on the significant agreement between SBG and IRESS, George Higginson, CEO of SBG stated “SBG strives to add value to our members, and the provision of XPLAN is an excellent example of this. XPLAN will be SBG’s advice delivery platform to provide tools in support of the transition to a service and fee-based world with streamlined business processes to help our firms maintain first class service to their clients.”

IRESS Managing Director, Andrew Walsh, said “IRESS is delighted to be selected and endorsed as a partner by SBG against strong global and UK based competition. The UK represents a strategic growth opportunity for IRESS and the opportunity to work with SBG to deliver a premier localised offering is unique and significant for both parties.”

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