GBST Holdings Limited (GBST) (ASX: GBT), a global provider of securities transaction and wealth administration software for the financial services industry, announces its GBST Composer suite is the first market ready response to the Australian Federal Government's Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) legislation which came into voluntary compliance use on 1 July 2012.
The legislation calls on financial services organisations to provide fee transparency for advisors and retail investors and the timely delivery of accurate product and service information to those client groups. To enable a smooth transition to the new regime, the reforms will be voluntary until 1 July 2013.
GBST commissioned Praxis Partners to independently review its changes to the GBST Composer™ administration system. The analysis saw particulars of the legislation cross referenced with responses from GBST Composer user interviews to assess how well the functionality addresses their new business needs.
The "FoFA Reform Readiness Review" publicly available today, confirms GBST Composer™ is market ready to adapt users' product, administration and operational procedures to meet FoFA stipulations.
Stuart Milne, Director, Praxis Partners, said in releasing the Review: "We are comfortable that current and future users of GBST Composer™ are able to readily and efficiently transition to the 'new world' under FoFA.
"In discussions across the spectrum of GBST Composer™ users, a key theme that emerged in relation to adapting to the new regulatory regime was the product's flexibility and ease of configurability."
GBST understands that major regulatory change, such as FoFA, represents both a challenge and an opportunity in the highly competitive Australian financial services marketplace.
Nick Frolich, Executive Manager of Wealth Management, GBST said: "To be FoFA compliant will be a challenge for every player within the industry. But we're enabling our clients to rapidly switch onto the requirements that will provide them with a market differentiator window. "
GBST Composer™ is a market-leading platform that will reduce the impact of the transition while delivering superior service, and keeping costs down and operational efficiency up. It is built with regulatory reform in mind, offering innovative solutions to supporrt evolving business needs.
"We're able to be first to market with a product suite that supports our customers' FoFA compliance because we have a dedicated team of specialist business analysts who focus on tracking regulatory changes. This enables us to be highly proactive in our product development and in effect roll out product enhancements such as these to clients well in advance of formal requirement," Nick Frolich said.
The key business issues reviewed in the Praxis Partner Review and addressed by the application of GBST Composer™ are:
• Fee transaction granularity to enable advisers to meet the fee disclosure requirements of FoFA
• Recording and housing of fee opt-in charging data
• Reporting requirements to maintain registers of opt-in (and out) clients
• Functionality to ensure that clients who have opted-out do not have advice fees deducted from their account and paid to and adviser/dealer group
• Functionality that distinguishes between risk insurance contracts within and outside of superannuation and the ability to not charge advice fees on those risk insurance products within superannuation, as defined by FoFA
• The ability to distinguish between asset based fees charged on invested amounts and borrowed amounts, and not charge fees on those borrowed or geared amounts
Stuart Milne added: "While there are still a number of outstanding clarifications required from a legislative perspective, GBST has considered and planned for various outcomes in this regard and will support full compliance with final legislation."