We have recently transformed the Allan Gray adviser site to offer you a more streamlined and visually appealing experience and ultimately help you service your clients even more effectively. While most of you will now be using the new site, Nic da Silva highlights some of the key changes.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates.
Change is important but uncomfortable. In recognition of this, we have tried to improve your online experience with us, while at the same time holding onto aspects of our website that we know are important to you. We have therefore introduced new features to Allan Gray Online (AGO) to add more value to your client interactions, but we have not removed any of the functionality you have come to rely on over the last 10 years – you will still be able to do everything you used to do, and more. Below we highlight some changes that we believe will be of particular interest to you.
We have a new menu system
The old menu was very wide and shallow, and you may have found that you had to click around a lot to find what you were looking for. It was also very sensitive: For example, if you wanted to navigate to one of the sub-menu items, you needed to have a steady hand in order to reach your destination on the first try. We are aware that this was very frustrating for many users.
With this in mind, we developed a simple and intuitive menu that addresses these issues. The new menu offers you a clean interface with a lot less clutter, making it much easier to find what you are looking for.
Sections of the new menu
Looking at the new menu, under the Clients menu item, you will find all the information relating to your client base, ranging from reporting to transacting.
We have consolidated everything related to transactions under the Instructions section of the menu. This allows us to ask you what transaction you want to perform and then present you with different ways of doing it. For example, if you want to submit an additional contribution, we show you that you can either generate a form or submit the instruction online. This is even more impactful since the introduction of our new Digital client approval process, which means that regardless of your license or online authority, you can now submit paperless instructions for your clients. All that is needed for this process to work is that the client must have a smart phone and access to email in order to approve the transaction you submitted on their behalf.
Moving on to the Practice menu item, here you will find all the functionality relating to your business, which includes reports on assets under management, data downloads and fee statements.
The Funds menu item contains our Fund Research Tool and other fund information, like factsheets and prices.
The Home page contains the new Practice dashboard and Client search function.
4.1 Practice dashboard
The main feature of the Practice dashboard is the Upcoming dates functionality, which shows you the upcoming Section 14 fee renewals and living annuity income revisions for your clients for the next three months. If your online profile is linked to multiple adviser codes, you can view this information across all adviser codes, giving you a practice level view that you weren’t able to get on the old site. You can expand each section to see which clients and accounts the notifications are for and you are also able to download pre-populated forms that you can send to your clients for signature.
Previously it was quite a difficult process to find this information, as you would have had to go through one of our data download spreadsheets to identify the clients in question and then manually complete forms for them to sign. We hope that the new functionality helps relieve your administration burden.
4.2 Client search
The Client search function sits at the top of the Practice dashboard. It allows you to search for clients across all adviser codes linked to your profile, or filter on specific adviser codes if you prefer. Once you have searched for a client, the search result shows you high level client account information. We have deliberately limited the amount of personal information displayed here, since we know that many advisers want to be able to log in on the site in front of their clients, without breaching the confidentiality of their other clients.
Selecting one of the client names on the results list will take you to the Investor and account dashboard.
4.2.1 Investor and account dashboard
We have tried to make this section more visually appealing than the tables of numbers and text that were available on the old site. We hope that the new layout will assist you in having advice conversations with your clients at the level of detail you require.
You can easily view the information in this section for one, multiple or all of the client’s accounts. You can also change the reporting period and toggle between different offshore currencies, if applicable.
The subsections in this dashboard are as follows:
- Investment performance
- Activity – a high-level view of transactions and performance for the accounts you are viewing
- Unit trusts – which funds the client is invested in
- Asset allocation – the total local versus offshore split, plus the exposure to growth assets (net equity and property) for the accounts you are viewing
- Annual fees – a high-level view of the fees across the accounts you are viewing
You can click through on each subsection to see a more detailed view.
You also have access to a Quick links menu in this section – access it by clicking on the three vertical dots next to the client’s name at the top. This allows you to easily access different functions directly from a client’s dashboard.
Old site functionality
We have not finished rebuilding the client reporting section of the site, so you currently still have access to the old reporting functionality that you are familiar with. You can access this via Reports on the Clients menu item, or by clicking the Quick links button (three vertical dots) on the Investor and account dashboard.
More to come
We hope that you find the transformed site useful and intuitive and we are working hard to see the transformation through to completion.
As always, we welcome your feedback as we continuously strive to improve and help you run your business as efficiently as possible.