By Soula Cargakis, Interim CEO/Distribution and Marketing Executive
As the year comes to an end, there’s no better time to look back at some of the highlights that have made 2017 a truly special year at Centrepoint Alliance.
It’s been an amazing year and Alliance Wealth being recognised as a finalist for Independently Owned Licensee by CoreData was definitely one of the highlights for me.
So too was the Annual Partner Summit in South Africa, where Centrepoint hosted close to 130 advisers.
During the summit, we were proud to present the winners and finalists of our inaugural Advice Firm of the Year Awards. It was wonderful to see the passion that exists in our community and the quality of advisers we are lucky to have. With the quality of our judging panel, which included Ray Henderson of Business Health, Dante De Gori, Phil Kewin, and Simon Hoyle, I can’t wait to see the quality of next year’s entries.
Whilst we hope to showcase the fantastic work of all departments and adviser support services throughout 2018, here are some highlights from just a few of the departments that made this year one of our best -
Advice Services started the year with a challenge to enhance customer service and experience to both the adviser community and internally within Centrepoint. To achieve this, Advice Services started off by reviewing all processes, roles and skills and then worked to be more efficient by digitising a major part of their workflow procedures. Doing this allowed for more time to work on projects such as BPAY functionality in Compass, launching an online application portal for advisers looking to join Centrepoint, and an extensive webinar program that led to increased engagement levels. Advice Services was also able to deliver virtual service enhancements with the introduction of an outsourcing calculator to help identify potential savings when outsourcing is implemented efficiently into an advice business. These virtual service enhancements were launched with the introduction of Estate Planning and Legal Services and embedding of existing Paraplanning and Administration services.
Professional Standards were kept on their feet in 2017. Some of the department highlights include the introduction of a risk based compliance framework featuring a multi-tiered audit program, to the delivery of 80 professional standards presentations, workshops and webinars, as well as the completion of over 600 compliance audits. If that wasn’t enough, 14 new Licensee Standards, two new Guidelines and an update for the AAP Compliance Manual were introduced to help guide the Centrepoint community. Already focused on 2018, Tara Foulkes, Head of Professional Standards said, “We are looking forward to continuing to add value by enhancing our coaching, guidance and mentoring services in 2018. We would like to wish our adviser family a happy and safe holiday season.”
Centrepoint Alliance Investment Solutions has produced fantastic results in 2017. In the last eight months alone, vMAPs has grown from 1000 accounts to just over 2000 accounts. With a strong continual growth of new advisers engaging vMAPs, funds under management (FUM) is expected to touch just under $450 million. Investment Exchange is nudging $1.25 billion, and we are seeing a growing list of new advisers also adopting investment exchange (IX). Ventura has also hit $1 billion with rebranding and a new website underway to better support an agile communications program. The addition of Patrick Jackson has also been a positive to the team in 2017. Patrick has been instrumental in aligning values and expectations operationally and in improving turnaround times.
Technology Delivery and Architecture
With Eoin McDonnell, Head of Technology Delivery and Architecture, leading the team of Farisha, Jacob, Matt, Gnani, Henry, Ruilin and Peter, Technology Delivery and Architecture managed to deliver measurable operational, financial and adviser improvements through new platforms, solutions, and improved processes. Department highlights included successful partnerships with Moneysoft, Innergi, BPAY and Suitebox. These partnerships offered the best of breed solutions on key areas such as cashflow, video conferencing, payment options, digital signatures and client communication. The team also lead the transformation of Compass governance, vendor engagement and SLAs, garnering a satisfaction rating of over 98% from advisers. In 2018, Eoin hopes to capitalise on natural language interfaces, sentiment analysis and digital assistants for the benefit of the whole Centrepoint community. “I see the most incredible opportunities with on demand AI services. We are at day zero with the software and hardware, the only limitation being our imagination,” he said.
The Technical Services team, made up of Mark Teale, Peter Kelly and David Spiteri will certainly enjoy their break this year. Their invaluable contribution to the Centrepoint community included addressing more than 3,000 adviser enquiries, hosting four aged care roundtable adviser sessions, and delivering in excess of 100 presentations and 42 articles for the Realise Your Dream blog.
Their dedication to providing the best quality service to their clients resulted in $21 million in life and TPD claims and more than $100,000 per month of income protection benefits. It’s not surprising that the team scored 8.5 for technical advice in the CoreData Licensee survey against an industry average of 7.9.
Marketing and Communications
Whilst marketing has seen many successes over 2017, the biggest has been the implementation of Hubspot. Hubspot is an inbound marketing automation platform – the market leader in their category. For Erryn Worth, National Marketing and Communications Manager, the introduction of Hubspot has been a dream realised. “Through Hubspot, we’re able to have more personalised and engaging communications with our clients and prospects. It provides insights on how our users interact with us, enabling the business to leverage the foundations we built in 2016 with the rebrand and website and to provide a better overall customer experiences,” she said.
Internally, Centrepoint was lucky to have Chris Holland, Head of Technology Services, and his team to help keep the IT ship steady in 2017. Between recruiting for a new Technology Analyst and helping the more technology inept amongst us, Chris also helmed a fleet wide upgrade to Windows 10 and Office 2016. For those on the go, Technology Services rolled out Mobile Device Management using Microsoft Intune, which keeps our corporate data safe on mobile phones and mobile devices. Chris had this to say about 2017 and his aims for the upcoming year, “I learnt not to take things for granted and to always keep a finger on the pulse. I hope 2018 brings a high level of staff satisfaction with Technology Services, a busy year, many challenges and lots of memorable moments.”
Sales had many achievements to be proud of in 2017. With the introduction of Lisa Ng as National Growth Manager, alongside Ryan Goodfellow and supported by Deanne Floyd, the team managed to reach double digital growth in new firms under the management of Kevin John, National Manager Sales Strategy. With the addition of 20+ high quality firms, the team received positive feedback on Centrepoint’s consultative approach and comprehensive offering. In 2018, Sales aims to continue improving efficiency, service quality and to attract high quality firms.
Centrepoint Alliance is lucky to be made up of passionate individuals who strive to give our community the best in customer service and value and a network of advisers whom support, encourage and challenge us to give our very best.
Thank you to everyone, advisers and employees alike, who contributed to a fantastic 2017.
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