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Friday, 19 June 2009 10:24

Online application system deployment for margin lending firm

By
The margin lending arm of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Leveraged Equities, has deployed an online application process developed by Melbourne-based IT services company, Taten.

Taten CEO, Jeff Lim, says Leveraged Equities adoption of its iApply Online Data Capture Framework, is driving new efficiencies as well as providing accuracy and completeness of data in the application process for both clients of the firm and its advisory team, where previously about 60 percent of paper applications were continually held up for processing because a lot of information had been missed.

“This meant going back to the financial advisors to chase down the missing information from the client. This could take anywhere up to two weeks.”

Lim says all of Leveraged Equities’ client information required to set up an account is now captured and validated online using iApply, and, he claims the Taten solution is a “market leading”  application in the margin lending and leveraged equities industry which clearly differentiates Leveraged Equities from the its competitors.

According to Lim, some companies in the margin lending and equities industry don’t have an online application process in place, and of those that do, he claims they only offer basic applications, such as single borrower/joint borrower.

Lim also says that with iApply the information gathering process is clear and simple to use, and allows application to be done to “suit the client’s timeframe while they collect all the necessary information, rather than having to continually contact the advisor and the advisor continually contacting ABL.”

“There is much less human error, as the client information is captured and validated online, and advisors and clients can save an incomplete online form if they need to chase up more information, rather than being forced to exit and start from scratch again.

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“Our solution drives costs down and creates efficiencies for both advisors and ABL.”

However, Lim also says there were technical challenges faced by Taten in coming to terms with the margin lending business, including some of its more complex scenarios.

This included transforming what Lim describes as a “difficult paper-based system into an easier to follow online system.”

In overcoming this, Lim says Taten developed a new pdf generating tool that creates a pdf specification which can be run through third party generation pdf components, as well as a mechanism for allowing a business user to manage the application.

In working with Taten on the deployment, Leveraged Equities’ general manager margin lending, Eric Blewitt says there was opportunity for both parties to “throw their hands up in the air and go ‘I’ve had enough – this all looks too hard’.

“We didn’t – neither party did, we worked through it – people jumped on planes, got in rooms and nutted out the issues which I think has enabled us to deliver the finished product to the level of quality that we actually have.”

Written in the .Net 1.1 framework, the application is hosted at Leveraged Equities with a load balanced server cluster spread over multiple servers to balance the load.

Lim says the session state is controlled in Taten’s database and there are multiple application servers communicating with one another to a database cluster in the back end.

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Taten, a provider of customised software solutions for the financial services industry, was founded by Jeff Lim and wife Lynda in 1992, and according to the Lims the business had its second best year last year, weathering the storm of the financial downturn with a steady increase in clients.

Despite the downturn, they claim client growth last year and again this year stands at around 70%, with the client roster including Queensland’s Sun Super superannuation fund, the Bank of Queensland, stockbrokers Wilson HTM, Heritage Building Society and funeral director, Tobin Brothers who have deployed an online funeral planning application.

However, the nature of the business Taten is doing now has changed, and Lim says clients  are undertaking more due dilligence and wanting more sophisticated solutions, along with cost reductions and other cost and efficiency benefits.

Lim reckons the nature of the market demands Taten is now seeing plays into the “value proposition we bring to the table.”

According to Lim there’s been a great deal of collaborative work with clients and he expects that to continue, along with the growth of the business.

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