IOOF sees microservices as competitive advantage

Microservices help deliver ‘open architecture’ for the financial services company

IOOF’s “open architecture”, whereby it offers non-IOOF products and services, along with its microservices-focus approach to IT are key differentiators for the financial services firm, according to managing director Christopher Kelaher.

For example, the open architecture approach allows IOOF to offer separately managed accounts (SMAs), managed discretionary accounts (MDAs), international equity functioning offers, as well as a choice of retailer insurers to its customers, Kelaher today told a first half results briefing.

The approach is being extended to the technology employed by IOOF to deliver financial advice. “We are now moving to create open architecture on advice technology via software and advice tools,” Kelaher said.

The managing director said IOOF is being “proactive” when it comes to fintech and robo-advice, with the firm engaging in alliance negotiations with a number of fintech companies.

IOOF more than half a decade ago embarked on a major rework of its core superannuation system from a monolithic application to a microservices-based architecture. That investment has enabled the company’s open architecture approach, Kelaher said.

“Choice is also important with [the] technology space and we have agile, modular IT delivery that supports and enables open architecture,” he said.

IOOF’s “microservices open architecture” makes it possible to “plug in and easily integrate with external partners”.

“This puts us in the position where we can make the choice to build or partner with an external party,” the managing director said. “Again, having this choice is a key differentiator from our competitors. Clients often want different things. Because we have the benefit of choice, we are in a position where we can provide our clients with bespoke solutions in a very timely fashion.”

IOOF last month appointed Sharam Hekmat as CIO, Kelaher noted.

“Sharam’s experience in large financial services organisations will enable us to continue to build on what we have already achieved and focus on delivering what really matters to our clients,” the managing director said.

IOOF said that it had cut its IT costs in the first half. IT expenses were down $1.5 million in 1HY17, the company reported.

IOOF announced an underlying net profit after tax of $79.4 million for the half ending 31 December.

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