As ValidPath Members are well-aware, we've been working for quite some time on a cutting-edge replacement for our old Network-wide practice-management system, one that is powerful and flexible enough to allow the ValidPath community to proactively develop and adapt in order to stay ahead of both the competition, and the demands of the regulators. We are confident that we have chosen the very best solution for our Members, and the 'Day 1 Configuration' goes live on Friday 6th December.
The 'behind-the-scenes' logistics for a project on this scale have been colossal, and both IRESS and ValidPath staff have been working all hours, every week, for the last few months to get us to this point. It is an exciting moment! In the next few days, there will be a series of communications as well as some new initial resources to help Members get up and running using the new system. As you might appreciate, we are more satisfied with the progress in some areas than in some others, but overall we are confident that our Members will be able to access a live system, furnished with core client data, which operates reliably from Go Live. And, over the last month or so, Members have had multiple opportunities to access pre-emptive training, and so will hopefully have a pretty good grasp of general functionality.
The new practice-management system, hosted by IRESS, offers our Members potential that has never been available before. This being the case, there is a sense of being like little children, let loose in a sweet-shop - so we have to resist any temptation to get distracted, and experiment with novelty just because it's available to us. What we have sought to do, is replicate much of the functional structure that our Members will have been used to, in order to limit the element of surprise. But where it is evident that a 'better way' is achievable from Day 1, then we felt that it would be imprudent to ignore that when it came to the configuration. The following graphic should help suggest one way in which the new system is going to help our Members:
We have sought to configure the system to recognise that there may well be 'advice' given, that is chargeable, which may not necessarily result in any new kind of transaction. It needs to be allowed to naturally come to a dignified full-stop with the issuing of an invoice (where that has been agreed with the client). Equally well, we have recognised that, in many cases, both client and adviser will embark upon a piece of advice without knowing precisely what kinds of transactional work may flow out of it - so there is a need to be able to initiate a range of potential transactional pieces, depending upon the outcomes from that initial advice. With certain kinds of financial advice, it is very clear, right from the outset, where the exercise is headed - for example, with mortgage work. Equally well, a piece of pre-retirement planning might result in a pension carry-forward exercise, or an ISA top-up, or even a consolidation of obsolete arrangements - but those outcomes would not be clear from the get-go. And, as you may have noticed from the above graphic, we are seeking to differentiate clearly between 'Accumulation' (pre-retirement) advice and 'Decumulation' (in-retirement) advice.
We've configured the new system to allow our Members that flexibility, so that you can intuitively follow the advisory process wherever it leads you. Thus, one initial piece of advice might well result in multiple transactions, all linked back to the original exercise. This results in less re-keying of data for the Adviser, and also has the benefit of improving the granularity of ValidPath's supervisory process. There is, of course, much more we will want to do together, in order to thoughtfully build the kinds of functionality which support the way you work - but this is a really good place to start.
Inevitably, with a system this complex, all of us have to work harder at keeping focused. Please bear with us, as we seek to keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing.