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View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a753124

What does Brewin's tech U-turn mean for the firm?

by Danielle Levy on May 27, 2014 at 09:44

So what went wrong? The source believes it was down to the range of services, flexibility and functionality that Brewin sought to roll out across the business, underpinned by Figaro.

It should also be noted that Brewin’s IT transition project is one of the biggest of its kind in the UK’s wealth management sector to date.

The source also highlights the use of external consultants. This meant key roles were filled by non-Brewin Dolphin staff, making accountability more complicated.

‘Their approach was naïve, to unpick 40 years of a stockbroking evolution in terms of the deployment of it by giving it to consultants,’ the source said.

So what will lie at the core of Brewin’s system? Fiscal was traditionally a disk operating system (Dos) that has been around since the 1960s. While it is understood that enhancements have been made to it in recent years, the source said the system has historically struggled with aggregating different accounts belonging to the same client or family, for example their Sipp, Isa or investment accounts.

Nonetheless, he noted the system can cope with bulk transactions and is effective at providing quality data.

Operating margin boost

Brewin’s plan to boost operating margins remains on course, the group noted.

The decision to implement Figaro in 2011 under the leadership of Jamie Matheson (pictured) formed part of the company’s drive to improve its operating margins from 15% to 20% and Brewin said its goal remains to raise this to 25% by 2016.

At the time of the announcement that Brewin would not go ahead with Figaro, the board said the business is on track to move above 20% in the first half of the year, up from 18.5% in the first half of 2013.

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