of banking and insurance software, has announced that it has the ability to
fully support wrap products using its front to back office life, pension and
investment solution, FINEOS Wraps(tm).
FINEOS Wraps - a sister product to the FINEOS Life(tm) application suite - is a fully integrated, web-based distribution, servicing and product administration solution. The system includes sophisticated customer relationship management, workflow automation and policy management and enables access over the web to customers and brokers alike.
Due to its underlying flexible data model, FINEOS Wraps has the capability to fully support the wrap product concept from simple format to the more complex form. It can support different combinations of product in a tax efficient manner and caters for multiple investment categories within one or many contracts. These investment categories facilitate the combination of all a customer's needs in the one contract; for example: separate investment categories can be assigned to life cover benefits, savings, pensions, and
Changes to contracts due to lifecycle planning can be easily facilitated within the application. Administration fees can be levied once, if required. Initial set-up charges, investment percentages and commission can be based on the total premium and investment holding across all the sub-contracts. From a cost perspective, FINEOS Wraps enables the customer to aggregate - and, as a result, reduce - previously fragmented fees into one policy structure. Furthermore, its fully integrated quotations module allows investors to adjust investment goals as income and lifestyle changes, and to assess the impact on their investment contributions at any stage.
FINEOS Wraps is divided into separate Front Office and Back Office component
software suites that can be deployed individually (e.g. FINEOS Wraps Front
Office), or combined together as a complete enterprise-wide solution. At the
front end, CRM and workflow solutions can be implemented to integrate easily
with existing wrap product administration systems so sales and service personnel can maximise every revenue opportunity and deliver the best possible service. Alternatively, with the addition of the back office product administration system, FINEOS Wraps can be implemented as an optimal front to back solution.
Allianz Nederland has already used FINEOS solutions to launch its innovative
'Universal Boxing' product, which is similar to the wrap product concept.
The new product takes advantage of the newly introduced Dutch 'boxing' tax
legislation, which divides an individual's income and capital growth into
various categories and applies specific tax rules and conditions to each category. Its underlying concept is based on an insurance product that combines income and capital across the various boxes but provides sufficient separation between the various asset holdings to comply with reporting and regulatory requirements. For this innovation, Allianz Nederland subsequently received Money magazine's "Financial Product of the Year" award for their 'Universal Boxing' product.
"Since Abbey's high profile entrance into the wrap accounts market in the UK, there's been a lot of talk about their massive Â£20m investment in a new wraps system", said Michael Kelly, CEO of FINEOS. "However, before providers consider developing a new system for wrap products, I think they should first review package software options like FINEOS Wraps. The package route has been proven to enable companies to get to market faster with lower up-front investment costs and lower on-going maintenance costs. In addition, package solution vendors have expert people who can add real value for implementation, systems integration and ongoing innovation in terms of technology and business advance. Overall, I believe we can offer potential wrap providers a practical and cost-effective route to market, as FINEOS Wraps is a modern component-based system built on an open scalable technical architecture."
Wrap accounts have been popular for some time in the US and Australia and are now starting to break into the mainstream financial market in the UK where some companies have already launched wrap accounts and quite a few more are planning to do so over the next 12 to 18 months. It is estimated that nine out of ten IFAs in the UK expect to use wraps as part of their everyday business within the next three years and that two thirds believe this could account for up to half of their annual revenue by 2010*.
A recent Datamonitor report** has also highlighted the potential for growth of wrap products in the UK and Europe, given certain conditions. While it predicts they may not develop at the same rate as they have in the USA or Australia, the increasing sophistication of individual investors in Europe and the growing likelihood of their contracting multiple products across the savings and investments spectrum from a variety of providers potentially creates an environment in which wrap products can prosper. The analyst group also points out that the increasing availability, effectiveness and security of the technology underpinning wrap services should encourage financial services institutions to offer such services, and encourage customers to use them.
* Abbey for Intermediaries research report, October 2003.
** The potential for wrap services in the UK, Datamonitor (June 2002).