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Australian software fills front-end gap for Aegis

The ASB-owned investment platform Aegis has plugged a major hole in its offering by bolting on the front-end financial planning software of Australian firm Xplan.

Tuesday, September 26th 2006, 6:24AM

by David Chaplin

Aegis has previously not offered any financial planning tools with its investment administration service, which has been considered one of its weaknesses.

The deal with Xplan is a surprise, however, given the vastly different financial planning requirements in Australia and because Aegis’ ultimate owner, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, has selected its arch-rival, Coin, to provide its financial advice software needs.

But Mark Ryland, Aegis general manager, said a number of the platform’s clients had tested several front-end software packages, including Coin, with most preferring Xplan.

“We tested Xplan with some of our largest financial advisory clients and they were blown away by it,” Ryland said.

The deal also throws doubt on rumours in the market that Aegis was up for sale.

“I have no comment whatsoever to make about that,” Ryland said.

He said Aegis had at some point considered building its own front-end system but opted to outsource as it was a “much quicker solution”.

Ryland said Aegis had been working with Xplan since the beginning of the year.

“We initially looked at providers currently servicing New Zealand advisers but it soon became apparent that there were significant gaps between our clients’ expectations and the functionality available locally,” Ryland said.

He said the Australian front-end planning software market is highly developed “and Xplan is held in very high regard”.

Andrew Walsh, co-founder and Xplan general manager, said while the New Zealand environment is a little different than Australia it is optimistic about working with Aegis The deal with Aegis is the first for any of the major Australian financial planning software companies which have been engaged in a cut-throat battle in their home country.

Walsh said as well as the Aegis deal Xplan is also ”doing a bit of work in New Zealand with some brokers”.

“We will have a new deal to announce in a month,” he said.

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