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SMSF Awards 2016: Investment platforms winner

BT Financial Group (BTFG) has built on its strong track record by taking out the award for investment platforms for the third year in a row.

BTFG head of platforms Kelly Power says a consistent approach towards investing in platform capabilities, as well as a genuine recognition of customer feedback has allowed BT to continue to stay ahead of the pack and evolve to meet the changing needs of advisers.

“I think it’s a testament to our consistent service, investment and enhancement over the past three years. This is the reason why we’ve been successful and we’re being recognised,” Power says.

“Platforms are a really important part of BT’s business and we really pride ourselves on a relentless focus on customer feedback, enhancing our products and ensuring that we provide best-in-class service.”

Launched last year, BTFG’s new suite of wholesale managed funds has surged from $500 million in funds under management (FUM) to $2.7 billion in FUM in less than 12 months – a result Power attributes to a deeper collaboration with BTFG’s investment partners.

“Our investment partners [help] bring a ‘best-of-breed’ investment capability to the market for our BT Wrap platform,” she says.

“Investment choice is a really important part of our platform offering and we’re very much focused on delivering ‘best-of-breed’ investment choice for our advisers.”

In April, BTFG partnered with Class to launch BT Panorama’s SMSF solution aimed at enhancing collaboration between advisers and accountants.

Power says this offering is unique in the way in which BTFG brings together integrated fund establishment services to provide a holistic solution.

“Our well-recognised investment administration services allows an SMSF to implement their investment strategy, which has always been core to our business through that regard,” she says.

In the 11 years since Power joined St George Bank in 2005, she has witnessed significant regulatory and legislative changes to the advice industry that have resulted in the emergence of new advice models – such as digital and scaled advice – as well as unique challenges posed by the evolving expectations of an increasingly self-directed client base.

“To maintain relevance and be competitive, I think it’s really important you continually invest and respond to these technology changes,” she says.

“You need to work really closely with your customers and your advisers to make sure your products are flexible enough to respond to changes in your business in the way they want to interact with you.”

Over the next 12 months, she says BTFG will continue “investing significantly” in its platforms, as well as helping its advisers to be more efficient, both in the SMSF segment and across its customer base.

“Our biggest priority is to continue to maintain our core platform offerings to ensure that we’re providing the same level of service and enhancing our administration facilities whilst, at the same time, building out our Panorama platform with the launch of advised retail superannuation in early 2017,” she notes.

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