The Poor Man Pays Twice
Last year we wrote a detailed article discussing the issues of Own vs Managed/Hosted Xplan Sites, as we felt there were many business owners trying to make the decision about which option was best for them.
For clarity, a managed or hosted Xplan site is sharing an Xplan site with a variety of other unassociated businesses. These sites are typically offered by Xplan customisation firms, licensees or more recently Dealer to Dealer service providers, in order to provide cost savings to businesses and possibly access to greater customisation (but on a group level - no individual changes).
When looking at the broader long term needs of your business and considering the portability of your solution, we think there are some clear benefits with having your own Xplan site:
- It gives you full control over your site
- Full customisation of your templates
- Ownership of templates in your site
- No issues with site performance
Since writing this article, we have continued to have discussions with IFAs who are looking to share costs by creating their own hosted site solutions and we have also been engaging with an increasing number of businesses who have left their Xplan arrangement which offered 'shared' hosting and now have deadlines to leave these Xplan sites.
We know that the commercial realities of running a financial planning business means that costs are always a consideration and joining a 3rd party Xplan site is often cheaper to set-up. Typically you will be charged ~$6,000 - 8,000 to be set up on these managed sites, versus $12,000 - $20,000 to set up your own.
So, cheaper is better right? Perhaps in the short-term, but if you are in this business for the long term there need to be some other considerations. Often firms find out within 12-18 months post signing on to these shared sites, that they:
i) Don't own the templates, ie. if you terminate the contract you have no SOA templates
ii) Have no relationship with IRESS, as contractually this is with the Xplan consulting firm
iii) Can't make significant changes to the template structure, which can be difficult if your compliance consultant asks you to make some significant changes (you may be stuck)
iv) May have restricted access to the full functionality of Xplan as the product continues to is always being upgraded by IRESS.
At Enzumo we stopped offering this service two years ago, as we felt that it wasn't the best long term solution for most business owners. We wanted IFAs to control the customer experience and also retain the ability to evolve with compliance requirements, as we know they are constantly changing. As a result we have assisted ten clients over the last 18 months, to move onto their own sites. Unfortunately, they have all ended up paying more in the long-run, but are now better positioned to move forward and grow in our current environment.
There are some firms who this model does work for, however they have often weighed up the costs and long term aspirations of the business and it still fits. However, for businesses with their own AFSL and more than three advisers, we think there is a better solution.
If you want to know what fits best for your business, have a discussion with us.