The scale and sophistication of the BT Group’s investment in technology is an edge that few of its competitors can match.
BT Group, Westpac Bank’s wealth-management arm, launched its flagship BT Panorama platform in 2014. In that year alone, the bank spent close to a half-billion dollars on the massive technology project, which combined seven legacy platforms into one.
This has created a much more user-friendly offering for managing super and other investments.
Westpac is just one example of a trend: Australia’s biggest banks are making significant investments in technology in an attempt to win market share in the super sector, which now sits at more than $2 trillion and is tipped to grow to $9.5 trillion by 2035.
The plethora of small to medium-sized super funds in the market – many of them not-for-profit organisations – are also investing in technology, scrambling to find ways to improve digital member services in order to remain competitive.
BT Panorama is a finalist in the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2017 in the category for Best Technology Offering.
Investment Magazine will feature Q&As with all the finalists, ahead of the winners being revealed at the awards dinner in Sydney on March 9.
Here, BT Group general manager platforms and investments, John Shuttleworth, outlines plans for BT Panorama to expand beyond its stronghold in the advised self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) sector and into the APRA-regulated Choice fund market in 2017.
IM: What was the biggest development for the BT Panorama platform in 2016?
JS: Given the scale and scope of BT Panorama, it’s hard to point to one part of the operating system or one technical innovation. However, the delivery of an end-to-end SMSF offer has probably provided the greatest impact for advisers, accountants and customers. The platform allows users to run their SMSF collaboratively and efficiently, with greater reporting and integration with their banking.
What do you expect to be your biggest area of focus in 2017?
In 2017, we are launching our own APRA-regulated superannuation fund on Panorama, called BT Panorama Super. It is a Choice product. This will be available to advised clients in the first instance, and offers a wide range of investment options, including listed securities, managed funds, managed portfolios and term deposits. This will ensure our advised clients can access all their investments in one place, through an intuitive online platform.
What do you consider the most important measure of success for the platform?
Customer feedback. BT Panorama has been built using a customer-led design approach and advisers and customers have had input since the earliest stages of development. It is this interaction that helps define the continuous improvement.
What is the biggest challenge facing the super industry?
There are a number of challenges for Australia’s super system. One key element is the rapidly changing environment and heightened expectations of customers due to digitisation. It is critical to be agile, able to adapt to the pace of change and capable of finding new ways of doing things.
The winners of the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2017 will be unveiled at a black-tie event at the Ivy, Sydney, on March 9, supported by Vanguard and AIA Australia. You can purchase single tickets or tables for 10 by visiting the event website. The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards proudly support The Wayside Chapel.