Self-managed superannuation fund administrators could see processing times cut in half when moving from BGL’s desktop software to its upcoming Simple Fund 360 cloud platform.
“If you’re working in the desktop program you have to click lots of buttons and the matching not as automated,” said Ron Lesh, BGL CEO. “It will take at least half the time by using the web version. It is all about automation.”
Simple Fund 360 was in a closed beta with 40 clients and would move to a full featured open beta in November, Lesh said. The program would be formally launched in early 2014.
The cloud program used similar concepts to bank feeds and automated bank rules introduced by cloud accounting programs such as Xero and Saasu to automate the updating of super funds.
“For a fund that only has listed securities and cash we think we can handle 90 percent of the processing that fund has to do in a year automatically,” Lesh said.
BGL had set up direct-feed agreements with 10 banks and would add another four. The company had initially planned using MYOB’s BankLink to provide bank feeds but it was “too expensive”, Lesh said.
Simple Fund stripped bank data and auto-matched to transactions. PDFs could be attached to transactions for auditing as source documents.
“If BHP announces a share split, we would know exactly which balance each fund has, and we’ll be able to process the corporate action based on that information,” Lesh said.
Apart from faster processing times, bank and registry feeds would lower the risk from an auditing perspective, said Penny Smith, BGL sales and marketing manager.
Although Simple Fund only linked to the ComputerShare registry, it would have all registries by next year, Lesh added. The software would reconcile the fund’s balance with the registry to show discrepancies and process corporate actions.
The registry also provided information for dividends and distributions.
Property feeds from RP Data, already in use in the desktop program, would be included in Simple Fund 360, Lesh said. It would allow valuations of different property such as farms, storage, parking spots and marinas.
Actuarial certificates, also on the desktop program, would be automated as would integration with wrap services.
“I don’t think we will have every feature in the web that’s on the desktop program,” Lesh said. Only 30 percent to 40 percent of features were used in the desktop software, he added.
Mid next year BGL would added managed fund data from any managed fund, Lesh said. BGL already had direct access to Calstone, which sourced data from 70 percent of managed funds.
Simple Fund 360 would be released with an open programming interface (API) so it could connect with cloud programs or other software. The first integration, due November, would be with cloud accounting program Xero. “A number of our clients use Xero to collect data for their SMSF and then bring it into our software,” Lesh said.
BGL was in talks with cloud-based practice management and workflow software suppliers, and had been approached by clients and advisers wanting to create their own integrations, Lesh said.
“Anyone who has a web-based package we can in theory integrate with,” Lesh said. BGL had convinced several very large funds to move to its new cloud program and hoped to have 50,000 funds using it by the middle of next year.