What’s next from Ninety One Investment Platform’s tech team?

While technology doesn’t solve every problem, it enables us to continually enhance our service offering, helping ensure better financial outcomes without increasing costs. It also assists our clients, assuring compliance with regulations at every step of the investment process. Spending less time on repetitive tasks, means you have more time applying your skills to things you enjoy.

Nov 18, 2020

6 minutes

Daryll Welsh
Scott Carr
While technology doesn’t solve every problem, it enables us to continually enhance our service offering, helping ensure better financial outcomes without increasing costs. It also assists our clients, assuring compliance with regulations at every step of the investment process. Spending less time on repetitive tasks, means you have more time applying your skills to things you enjoy.

The fast view

  • Investment administration is a complex and technology-reliant business, demanding long term financial and operational commitment.
  • Technology by itself will not set us apart as your provider of choice – it is a vital, minimum requirement. What matters is how it powers the relationships we enjoy with you, the value it adds to your clients, and the ability to save time for you.
  • Ongoing communication with you has been crucial in delivering dynamic solutions aligned with your needs and best practices.
  • An important driver of efficiency in our business is automation – a trend that will become even more pronounced in the future.
  • Relevant, powerful tools are crucial to delivering answers and insights that meet clients’ needs precisely and efficiently.
  • Looking ahead, we believe that integration between third-party software suppliers will be a key priority as advisors look to consume best-of-breed technology for different aspects of the advice process.

Investment administration is a complex business, which demands interaction with multiple, sophisticated counterparties in a highly regulated landscape that is constantly evolving. Our business partners – you, the advisor, and our clients, also have ever-changing needs which we are eager to meet. Ongoing communication with you has been crucial in delivering dynamic solutions aligned with your needs and best practices. We are fortunate to work together with sophisticated and well-informed business partners who continually motivate us to deliver a best-of-breed client experience.

Our philosophy

  1. Technology – an integral part of our service offering

    In this environment, technology is key to our efficiency, the security of your assets and keeping costs down for everyone. While it doesn’t solve every problem, it enables us to continually enhance our service offering, helping ensure better financial outcomes without increasing costs. It also assists our clients, assuring compliance with regulations at every step of the investment process. Spending less time on repetitive tasks, means you have more time applying your skills to things you enjoy.

  2. A strong focus on automation

    A key driver of efficiency in our business is automation – a trend that will become even more pronounced in the future. Reducing the burden of paper and digitising the investment process is ingrained in our DNA. Every ounce of benefit derived from enablers such as robotic process automation, straight-through processing and real-time identity verification translates directly into shorter processing times, later cutoffs, and a better user experience. It helps us to free our people’s time, so that they can spend more time serving you, and less time troubleshooting.

  3. Powerful tools delivering key insights

    Part of our offering is a suite of tools covering market data analysis and reporting, as well as financial calculators and outcomes modelling. Some tools we build ourselves, while others we develop by partnering with best-in-class technology providers. This model allows us to combine our own collective wealth of financial planning expertise with other advances in data science and analytics, helping to create high-quality investment plans for clients.

A good example of our philosophy in practice

Prior to 2019, the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, or “FICA” as we have all come to know it, prescribed the way in which accountable institutions needed to verify the identity of people or companies with whom they wished to do business. This involved obtaining copies of identity documents, bank statements, proofs of address and often many other documents in a process that was onerous and time-consuming for everyone.

The FIC Amendment Act introduced a wholesale change to this legislation and along with it, added requirements to perform even more rigorous evaluation of prospective clients, which was called the risk-based approach.

In this change, we saw opportunity. By 2019, several technology tools had evolved to the point where it had become possible, if put together correctly, to independently verify a person’s identity and banking profile purely through digital interaction.

So, we put these tools together and created a brand-new onboarding process that did away with the need to supply copious amounts of documents to prove identity. By connecting directly to the Department of Home Affairs’ database and to the banking ecosystem, we can verify the client’s identity in real time and check that the bank account supplied does belong to the identity provided. The result has been a massive reduction in time and effort – 70% of our new investors are “FICA’d” in real time, on the screen with an accompanying certificate to help you satisfy your regulatory obligations.

70% of our new investors are “FICA’d” in real time.

How we optimise technology at Ninety One

  1. Staying ahead of the curve

    Technology evolves rapidly and we need to continually embrace new tools and practices well in advance of obvious needs. This is because the benefits of new technology are not always immediately apparent. For example, when we introduced digital approval in 2015, we could not have foreseen just how powerful a force it would be in 2020. As we all retreated to our homes due to the pandemic, moving paper back and forth between people became challenging. Thanks to a tenfold increase in the use of our digital approval technology, advisors could continue with the submission of client instructions in a seamless manner.

  2. Integrating best-of-breed technology across the advice spectrum

    While a lot of progress has been made on the technology front over the last couple of years, much of what has been delivered has been to lay the groundwork for what is to come down the line. Looking ahead, we believe that integration between third-party software suppliers will be a key priority as advisors look to consume best-of-breed technology for different aspects of the advice process. Using one supplier for client reporting, another for customer relationship management and a third for data aggregation, will all become possible as data sharing becomes widespread. We believe that platforms are the nerve centre of this, and only those platform businesses with an open mindset and a willingness to interconnect, will be the ones that ultimately survive.

In conclusion

While it is expensive and resource intensive, technology forms an integral part of everything that we do at Ninety One. Technology by itself will not set us apart as your provider of choice – it is a vital, minimum requirement. What matters is how it powers the relationships we enjoy with you, the value it adds to your clients, and the ability to save time for you. In short:

  • Ongoing technology enhancements enable us to spend more time and energy on our people and their relationships with you, helping our mutual businesses thrive. To maximise this impact requires that we maintain an open dialogue, sharing our needs and frustrations. We look forward to continued communication and feedback from you.
  • These initiatives are aimed at helping you to be better at what you do best, rather than wasting precious time to get the basics done. We understand the importance of being in front of clients, rather than in front of a screen. Your business was built on personal meetings and handshakes, not on reports and emails.
Your business was built on personal meetings and handshakes, not on reports and emails.

Fully harnessing the power of technology is key to our business and our client relationships. It helps us both to be better at doing the things we do best. And we like to think that every day we are getting better at helping you help your clients, thanks to your valuable input.

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Authored by

Daryll Welsh
Head of Product - Ninety One Investment Platform
Scott Carr
Head of Client Digital Experience

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Ninety One Investment Platform Proprietary Limited is an authorised financial services provider.