JM Finn & Co puts client needs at heart of mobile portfolio valuation service
MBA Systems develops and manages cross-platform web application for the smart phone/tablet generation
Winchester, 19 February 2013
JM Finn & Co, one of the UK’s leading investment managers, has worked with MBA Systems, its trusted IT managed services partner for over a decade, to provide clients, investment managers and financial intermediaries on the move with a web-based portfolio valuation service. The mobile application, available through any mobile web browser, is currently optimised for Apple iPhone/iPads and Android handheld devices. Support for the Windows phone 8 operating system and its wide exploitation of touch screen capabilities will soon be available in the next release.
J M Finn, which recently partnered with Belgian investment group Ackermans & van Haaren (AvH) through its wealth management affiliate Delen Investments, has some £6.2bn funds under management. It differentiates itself by engaging with clients on an individual basis and providing direct access to investment managers who are not constrained by the products they sell. The mobile development has been driven by the paramount goal to serve clients and intermediaries better.
“The key requirement was to ensure that when we launched the service it would provide a compelling user experience, completely tailored to the individual needs of our clients, some of whom have relied on JM Finn & Co for three generations,” said Clara Durodié, Head of Investment Funds Ops.
Jon Cosson, Head of IT at JM Finn & Co added: “A great deal of care and time has been taken over the design and content of the screens and facilitating broker interaction from the handheld. The challenge was to create clear, intuitive functionality in line with our strategy continually to improve valuation transparency and deliver up-to-date information 24 x 7.”
Both the mobile and desktop portfolio valuation websites are hosted at MBA Systems’ highly secure, data centre. MBA was involved at every stage of the development from the look and feel, through security and performance testing to deployment. The application is fully penetration tested by a CREST, Tiger and CHECK certified independent security firm. Clients register, create a secure login and the web service automatically detects the device type to present an optimised mobile web experience, while avoiding the need for users to download application updates. For added security an extract of live data is embedded from the core MBA database and only turned on for registered users. MBA has a secure point-to-point encrypted ‘tunnel’ with J M Finn’s internal front/back office systems to capture live data for updating client portfolios.
“We have worked with MBA Systems since they were selected to develop and host our first database-driven web applications 13 years ago,” continued Mr Cosson. ”We work together closely and value highly the excellent relationship which has stood the test of time, when many of MBA Systems’ contemporaries have fallen by the wayside.”
Top Awards for MBA Systems
19 June 2012
MBA Systems won two awards at this year’s Systems in the City event: “Best Website Development” and an individual award for exceptional customer service. It is the sixth consecutive year that MBA has won the prestigious award for Best Website Development which recognises the company’s strength in the development and support of online financial applications.
Nominations for the awards came from systems’ users themselves from within the securities industry, including stockbrokers, wealth managers and investment bankers. Adjudication was undertaken by an independent panel of prominent City professionals.
The packed event took place at The Law Society in Chancery Lane, with the awards presented by journalist and broadcaster, Andrew Wilson.
In addition, the APCIMS individual award for exceptional customer service was won by Parry Vaughan, MBA’s field service manager, and was presented by Dr. Tim May, chief executive of APCIMS.
Commenting on the company’s success, Michael Bradford, CEO of MBA remarked, “These awards are in recognition of the skill and experience of the MBA team in the realm of financial technology. I am delighted that the firm has once again been recognised by the industry for the innovation, quality and service it provides. Parry’s award is particularly gratifying, recognising years of commitment to putting the customer first”.
Top Award for MBA Systems
16 May 2011
MBA Systems has been awarded “Best Website Development” at this year’s Systems in the City event. The award was given to MBA’s Clients Direct system. It is the fifth consecutive year that MBA has won this prestigious award, which recognises the company’s strength in the development and support of a range of online account and trading applications.
Clients Direct enables investment firms to provide the ultimate support to their IFAs. An internet based system, Clients Direct facilitates full investment management support that is branded to each IFA’s own corporate identity. An IFA’s own clients can then have direct online access to dynamic details of their portfolios, accounts and total assets, which are managed by an IFA’s investment manager.
The packed awards event took place at The Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, with the awards presented by James Max, LBC broadcaster and former semi-finalist in the BBC’s The Apprentice.
Receiving the award from Max, managing director of MBA Systems, Michael Bradford said, “This award is a tribute to the skill and dedication of all the MBA team. I am gratified that we have once again been recognised by our peers as being the best at what we do.”
Organised by Goodacre UK, nominations for the awards came from systems’ users themselves from within the securities industry, including stockbrokers, fund managers and investment bankers. The awards were selected by a panel of City professionals.
Commenting on MBA’s achievement, managing director of Goodacre UK, Stephen Pinner said, “It’s pleasing to see that MBA has retained its pole position for the Best Website Development award. As the citation states: it is because MBA is recognised as offering a consistent combination of rich functionality, reliability, speed and visual attraction in the websites it develops. So a well deserved accolade.”
Pro Icon Delivers Enhanced Investment Management
27 January 2011
James Brearley & Sons, one of the largest, independently owned stockbroking firms in the North of England with c. £750m under custody, has released function-rich, Pro Icon, an advanced online valuation and dealing service to support intermediary businesses. Developed by MBA Systems for James Brearley and Sons, Pro Icon provides intermediaries, including solicitors, accountants and independent financial advisers, with bespoke and personalised investment management facilities. Essentially these assist an intermediary to manage its clients’ portfolios across a range of different account types using a wealth of advanced technological facilities, potentially branded with the intermediary’s own corporate identity.
“The rich functionality of Pro Icon, combined with our firm’s wealth of experience in custodianship and in executing a wide range of investment instruments, provides our intermediary clients with a strong and flexible service,” says David Hannis, director of James Brearley. “This could simply be in the area of providing their clients with an online valuation service, linked to up-to-date news on listed securities or relative performance and portfolio content, in the case of collective investment scheme holdings. Our clients also fully appreciate the user friendliness of the dealing related tools and functionality, which are based on the same system utilised within our portfolio management service.
“Our intermediary clients in turn can provide a more tailored and branded service to their own clients. This includes the ability to create their own wrap structure, centred on the evolving range of sub-custodian arrangements we have with a large number of SIPP, SSAS administrators and offshore insurance companies. This is complemented by our role of ISA manager and provider of a general nominee account.”
Pro Icon allows intermediaries to execute client instructions efficiently; the system’s Multi-Order Suite provides the ability to place a similar trade across a wide range of clients or a number of trades for the same client. Further efficiencies may be achieved through its Order Import facility, which enables an intermediary to upload instructions saved within an Excel spreadsheet for execution. This recently allowed a client to place in excess of 1,800 individual trades within less than 30 minutes. Because this facility removes the need to re-key data, it also removes associated operational risk.
Further trading risk is removed through the system’s Promoter Status facility which is very popular with clients. This gives different permission levels for access within a firm, such that a user with ‘promoter status’ may only create a trade, or submit those trades created by a colleague. As a result, every trade is double checked.
Pro Icon enriches the information that an intermediary provides to its clients. It is now possible to view a portfolio valuation that incorporates primary and secondary sector weightings. Valuations may also be grouped as such, allowing the intermediary and their clients to view various arrangements, be it a general nominee, ISA, SIPP and/or offshore bond as a single entity.
Through James Brearley’s tie up with Funds Library, Pro Icon users now have access to extensive fund research and Fund Library’s widely used Portfolio X-Ray Tool. The Portfolio X-ray tool allows the user to view the geographical, sector, stock and asset mix of a portfolio of collective investment schemes and equities. The fund research tools allow users to easily view the content of a particular fund and its performance relative to its peer group. This service also allows users to obtain a variety of fund documentation, be it a recent investor fact sheet or the latest fund report, accounts or key features document.
“We continue to work closely with MBA Systems to create a product that will give us and our intermediary clients a competitive edge,” says Hannis. “It also gives us the power and technology that we need to grow client and transaction volumes efficiently, while maintaining a high level of service and support.”