New Advice Software Promises Simple FoFA Compliance

A new financial planning software system has been launched, built specifically for the Australian advice market and incorporating all the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reform requirements.

The new Advice Operating System (AdviceOS), created by research firm, Midwinter, has been designed as a competitor to other full-featured financial planning software, such as  XPLAN and COIN. Developed over the last two years, the system provides support for advisers in managing their existing compliance obligations, such as Statements of Advice (SoA), and new requirements dictated by the FoFA reforms, including the generation of Fee Disclosure Statements (FDS) and opt-in notices.

… the philosophy of the design of AdviceOS is ‘from the advice out’

“We’re all about the advice,” said Managing Director, Julian Plummer. “We want to help people who are passionate about this industry, passionate about advice, strategies, and most of all, passionate about their clients.

“Clients don’t seek out advisers based on the quality of their CRM. They seek out advisers based on the quality of their advice. So if we can get that right, the rest will fall into place.

“For that reason, the philosophy of the design of AdviceOS is ‘from the advice out’. We’ve worked on the advice, and then we’ve developed the software out from there, rather than some of our competitors, who have built a CRM system and attached the advice components to that.”

Phase 1 of AdviceOS, which is available now, gives advisers access to:

  • A Client Management System (CMS), including automatically generated file notes (which are created when key information is entered or updated) and document storage via the ‘cloud’
  • FoFA solutions such as easy to generate opt-in and FDS disclosure documentation with feeds from commission systems
  • Product modelling and comparisons for insurance, super and platforms, backed by a comprehensive product database
  • A secure, online and mobile device enabled Client Portal, with calculators and data-sharing capabilities

Midwinter said it has placed a particular focus on improving client engagement, introducing a range of client tools which can be accessed through an online portal that feeds directly into the client management system.

With the advent of the best interest duty, modelling is going to become more and more important

For example, clients can update their personal details, such as salary or superannuation contributions, which then sends a prompt to the adviser to either accept or reject the change. Alternatively, clients can utilise calculators, e.g. to determine their optimum retirement position, and any reports will be saved in the client portal and the adviser’s database for easy reference. Advisers can also upload documents, such as reports on the clients’ progress to plan or records of advice, into the portal, which clients can view at any time.

“With the advent of the best interest duty, modelling is going to become more and more important,” Mr Plummer said.

“Come 1 July, advisers have to identify objectives, identify financial situations and the needs of their clients, they have to investigate the financial products that could potentially meet those needs, and then they must assess the outcomes of those models. What AdviceOS will do is help identify, investigate and assess all those different outcomes.”

Key features of the system include:

Life insurance features

  • Based on Midwinter’s original Reasonable Basis offer, the new AdviceOS enables advisers to quickly generate comparisons between a client’s existing insurance product and alternative offers. Users have access to a comprehensive database of both retail and group insurance products, and can compare features and definitions (based on Rice Warner research) to easily demonstrate ‘reasonable basis’ for transitioning a client from one product to another.
  • There is also a needs analysis tool which feeds directly into the Statement of Advice (SoA).
  • Commission feeds are available (including a link to Easy Dealer), which enable users to efficiently generate fee disclosure documentation.
  • Clients can access an insurance calculator through the Client Portal, and any reports generated by the client are automatically delivered into the adviser’s database so they can view client activity and take any action as required.
  • Clients who do not need to receive FoFA documentation (such as an opt-in notice or FDS) can be ‘tagged’ and excluded from compliance workflows (refer below).

FoFA features

  • Each client record contains a field for the review date, the FDS due-date and the opt-in renewal date, helping advisers to keep track of their compliance requirements.
  • The system also includes an inbuilt client segmentation tool, to which users can add specific service packages.
  • This information, combined with data from the commission management system, and client records is designed to make the generation of FDS letters for clients simple and efficient.
  • AdviceOS also has the ability to track the relevant opt-in date for each client, monitor the generation and receipt of opt-in notices, and send reminders to advisers if the due date is approaching.
  • Clients can be sent documents like the FDS and opt-in notices via the Client Portal, and can also opt-in electronically.

Midwinter will be showcasing AdviceOS at a series of national roadshows, to be held in September and October. Click here for more information on Midwinter or AdviceOS.


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